Sometimes, it’s easy to love other people. For example, if they’re nice to us, or if they are extra friendly to us, or if they are just fun people to love. Most of the time though, that’s not what it means to love others. Most of the time we are offered an opportunity to love someone who is different from us, whose interests conflict with our own, or someone who does not love us well back. This week we look at a few places in the Bible when it talks about why it is important to love others, and how God helps us in this.
MEMORY VERSE: “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails!” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)
This Week’s Finish Line: Knowing God loves us helps us love others!
We looked at two passages of Scripture this week: 1 John 4:7-12 and 1 Samuel 20. In 1 John 4, the verses explain that God IS LOVE! Because of the way He loves us (unconditionally), we can also love others! It’s incredibly helpful to have this perspective, because it helps us remember all the times we have not loved God back well, but He still sent Jesus to die for us. What a crazy sacrificial act of love! We also examined another story of love, by looking at the way David and Jonathan loved each other in 1 Samuel 20.
- Read 1 Samuel 20:1-4 and verses 12-17 together. Who are all the characters in the story, and how are they connected?
- How would you feel if your dad was king, but your best friend was going to be king next instead of you?
- What is Jonathan willing to do for David? Why is this a big deal?
- How does Jonathan display the kind of love it talks about in 1 John 4? What did Jonathan know about God?
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TEACHER: Love Defined (with examples!)
At dinner this week, say the memory verses out loud together (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a). Go around the table and give examples of when you have loved someone or when someone has loved you well- using the definition each time. For example, “I loved my friend at school today by being patient when she was in front of me in line and it took a long time.” Or “mom loved me well last week when she did the dishes for me, even though I had forgotten the day before (love keeps no record of wrongs).”
FRIEND: Be a Jonathan
While driving in the car this week, talk about David and Jonathan. Discuss their friendship and ask everyone in the car if they have a friend like Jonathan who shows sacrifice a lot? Ask if they are a friend like Jonathan to any of their friends either. Discuss how each of you can show this kind of love towards your friends.
COUNSELOR: God Loved Us First
During bedtime this week, spend some time talking with your child(ren) about how much God loves us. How do we know God loves us? Because He sent Jesus to die for us, even when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8)! Read through 1 John 4:7-12 and repeat the verses about God’s love for us. We know that we are loved perfectly, so we can be confident that with God’s help, no one is too difficult to love. Pray together for God’s help to love others!
COACH: Love Others!
Pick a time this week and brainstorm 2 people each to go out of your way to love. Think of specific examples to love them well. For example, one child may want to show love to his teacher this week, by writing her an encouraging note (love is kind!). Another child might want to show love to her brother. Maybe he forgets to do his turn of unloading the dishwasher, so she decides to do it for him without him seeing (love does not boast; love keeps no record of wrongs). Be creative!
Thank God for letting you see what true love is. Ask Him to help you see how you can better show His love to others this week. Thank Him for His perfect love for you.
Next week we will be looking at the Old Testament as a whole, and talking about how it all works together to tell one big story!