As Christians, we follow the teachings of Jesus. The tough part is that Jesus' teachings can be different from what we've heard before! They can also be difficult to follow.
Right before Jesus died, he forgave the people who hurt him. He asks us to forgive others who hurt us, just like God forgives us! Not only that, he teaches us to love people we don't like, do good for them, and pray for them. Does this sound like something you can do? Is that something you want to do?!
Jesus said, "If someone hurts you, don't hurt them back." Wow, that was different!... Then Jesus said a very important thing. "Everyone says 'Love your friends and hate your enemies." I say love your enemies and pray for people who are mean to you. This is what really makes God happy!" The things Jesus said changed the way people thought about treating others.
- Do you ever follow what Jesus commands in this story? Is it easy or hard to do?
- Tell a story about a time someone was mean to you. How did you respond?
- I wonder why it makes God happy when we love our enemies. What do you think?
- Read the quote by Dr. King in the photo above. How does this connect to what Jesus taught?
Let's pray together.
- Start with a few deep breaths. Fill your belly with air, and then let it out. Imagine all of the meanness coming out of you. As you breathe in again, imagine God's love is filling you up.
- Dear God, just as Jesus did, help us to love and forgive others who hurt us. Take away the mean words in our mouths and in our hearts. Bless the people I don't like (can name them here). Help us to share your love with everyone. Amen.
Write and/or draw a story or comic strip based on Jesus' teaching. Start with someone hurting another person (someone budges in front of you in line, calls you a mean name, etc.). What happens next? What would Jesus do? (Another option: Talk together as a family about common scenarios you may encounter and how you might respond).
Body Memory Verse
Spend some time learning Matthew 5:43-44 (regular Bible or SPARK). It's important to know verses well, so that when you are in a tough situation you can remember what Jesus said! Moving your body can help you learn. You can either write out the verse several times, or do some actions. Make up your own actions or try the following (using the SPARK verse):
Everyone says (put your hands to your ears, like you're listening closely)
"Love your friends (cross your hands over your chest, like a hug for a friend)
and hate your enemies." (fling your arms wide, like you're pushing people away)
I say (lift your hands high in the air, to welcome words coming from Jesus!)
love your enemies (cross your hands over your chest again. Love an enemy like a friend!)
and pray for people who are mean to you. (put your hands together like you're praying)