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FOCUS OF THE MONTH: LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR
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It’s the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Matthew 7:12). It’s the second-greatest commandment: Love your neighbor as you love yourself (Mark 12:31). But what does it really mean to love one’s neighbor, as Christ would have us love? This is probably one of the most important topics for parents to discuss with their children and be sure they understand, in the light of our society’s conflicting views of love.
For week one, ask the first question over an unhurried meal. Let the children think about it and then offer their own answers. The children should talk more than the parents. Throughout the week, offer the different reasons highlighted and let the children discuss them. (Parents, read through the relevant Bible passages in advance.) Challenge the children to look up other verses addressing the question. Do the same for the following questions each week for the month.
QUESTIONS TO HELP YOUR FAMILY GROW
Why should we love our neighbor?
Read: 1 John 4:4-21, 1 Corinthians 13
- Jesus says it is one of the greatest commandments.
- God created us to live in relationships of love, with Him and each other.
- Every person is created with a need to love and be loved; God expects us to help fulfill those needs in our work for His Kingdom.
- Love is at the root of dealing with all the problems the devil has introduced into the world.
- Human society, as a part of God’s creation, cannot long survive without employing the principles of His love.
How does Jesus want us to love our neighbor?
Read: Luke 10:25-37
- We are to love our neighbor as ourselves — in other words, put what they need first.
- Loving our neighbor is shown in actions of helpfulness and kindness, as in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
- Love is giving to others rather than thinking of what we can get from them.
What can we do to grow in loving our neighbors?
Read: John 15:5-17, Colossians 3:1-15
- Ask Jesus to fill you with His love — we can never love like Him without His help!
- Listen to what people say and really get to know them.
- Always remember that the most important thing about any person is that God created them and loves them and wants them to live forever — as His children, we are to look at people from the same viewpoint.
- Pray for others.
- Think about other people as much as about yourself, helping others instead of always focusing on only your own concerns.
Why is love of our neighbor so important?
Read: Matthew 19:16-30, Luke 7:36-47, John 13:34-35
- We can only understand God’s love in the context of what we experience here on earth: genuine acts of love between human beings give us an example and analogy of what God’s love is like.
- After God’s Own Love, nothing makes life so wonderful and worthwhile as love between human beings, especially when we are enduring trials.
- “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35): loving others, even when we are not loved in return, helps us to grow in virtue and Christlikeness and the true joy that comes with drawing closer to Christ.