A Note to Our Parents: We are including this week’s devotional on the spiritual fruit of Goodness in this blog post, which you will find near the end. First, however, we realize it’s been a tough summer with the various events and violence in the United States, and this past week, one of those events was very close to home. You as parents may be concerned and looking for simple ways to talk to your kids about current events. We have come up with a few related Biblical resources and themes that you can use to engage and talk with your kids at whatever level you deem best. We highly recommend you take the time to listen to Greg’s sermon – Philando and Jeronimo – from this past weekend if you haven’t already for a Kingdom perspective.
We would encourage you to talk to your kids about who Jesus is, how he loves unconditionally, and how he showed his love for all throughout his time here on earth. Good Bible passages that illustrate Jesus showing love to everyone would be Matthew 6:43-48 (Loving Your Enemies), Matthew 8:5-13 (Jesus and the Roman Centurion), Matthew 9:18-26 (Jesus Heals a Sick Woman), Luke 19:1-9 (Jesus and Zacchaeus), John 4:4-30 (Jesus and the Samaritan Woman), and John 11:1-44 (Jesus Raises Lazarus) along with any of the accounts of Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection. For a family devotional on Kingdom love and kindness, check out our blog post from June 15th.
Identity is key to helping us know how to react in situations, and it may be helpful for your family to talk about what it means to be a child of God and a follower of Christ. One passage you may want to check out that deals with our identity in Christ would be 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, “So from now on we don’t look at anyone the way the world does. At one time we looked at Christ in that way. But we don’t anymore. When anyone lives in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone! The new is here! All this is from God. He brought us back to himself through Christ’s death on the cross. And he has given us the task of bringing others back to him through Christ. God was bringing the world back to himself through Christ. He did not hold people’s sins against them. God has trusted us with the message that people may be brought back to him. So we are Christ’s official messengers. It is as if God were making his appeal through us. Here is what Christ wants us to beg you to do. Come back to God! Christ didn’t have any sin. But God made him become sin for us. So we can be made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.” Other identity passages include Galatians 3:26-29 (All One in Christ), 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (Parts of One Body), and 1 John 3:1-3 (Children of God).
Jesus also came to bring peace, and as his followers, we are called to live out that same peace with everyone. On this topic, you may want to read together 2 Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brothers and sisters, be joyful! Work to make things right with one another. Help one another and agree with one another. Live in peace. And the God who gives love and peace will be with you.” Other helpful verses on this topic are Romans 12:17-18 and James 3:17-18. For a family devotional on this topic, check out our blog post from June 23rd.
If you find your kids are feeling fearful or worried with any of the topics you raise or other things they may hear, we would recommend taking time as a family to pray together and to reaffirm the love and power of Jesus by checking out stories and verses such as Isaiah 41:10 (God is with You), Mark 4:35-41 (Jesus Calms the Storm), Luke 12:22-34 (Do Not Worry), and John 10:1-18 (Jesus as the Good Shepherd).
If your children are old enough, you may also want to look at Ephesians 6:18, “At all times, pray by the power of the Spirit. Pray all kinds of prayers. Be watchful, so that you can pray. Always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” As the book of James reminds us, our prayers are powerful and effective, and we encourage your family to pray through all of this together and keep Jesus and his love your focus.
This Week’s Family Devotional on Goodness:
At first glance, “goodness” may seem like it’s about following rules and being “good.” But when Paul was listing the fruits of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians (5: 22), he meant a goodness of generosity. This generosity is about sharing everything you have and you are with others. So whether it’s your time, your money, your talents, or your love, God calls us to be generous and put the needs of others before ourselves.
Read Romans 12:10, 1 Corinthians 10:24, and Philippians 2:3-4 together and talk about what it might look like for your family members to love others unconditionally and put their needs above your own. Encourage them to specifically think of people whom they may find it difficult to love and have them pray about ways they can show God’s love to them and believe the best about them no matter what.
Brainstorm together some ideas and ways in which your family and its individual members can show love to others and put them first. Some suggestions might be drawing pictures for a neighbor, making cookies for a community event, volunteering at a food shelf, or other random acts of kindness. Encourage them to also think of ways they can show generous love to people all over the world, whether that’s through prayer, raising donations for a non-profit, or befriending a child in his/her class that seems to be having a rough time.