Loving Your Neighbor

Scenarios
Child had a disagreement with a friend; child is struggling showing love towards others; child is arguing with siblings and parents often; child thinks too critically of others

Scripture Lesson
Throughout Christ’s’ ministry he was confronted by many who wanted answers to difficult questions. Some of the questions were sincere, but many were asked hoping they could trick him into saying something false. On one occasion, somebody asked Christ to tell him which was the most important commandment.

Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? (Matthew 22: 35-36)

Question
Before we hear his answer, what would you say if someone asked you this question?

Let’s see how Christ responded.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)

Questions
-Why would God make these the greatest commandments?
-Who does he mean when he says “love thy neighbour”?
-What does Christ mean when he says, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets?”

Story
After a move across states we sent our daughter to her third elementary school in three years. She quickly made friends with a girl in her class named Amy. She would often come home with stories of the fun things they did together. One day, however, our daughter came home in tears because they had a falling apart and were no longer friends. She struggled the rest of the year with Amy. It was so stressful for our daughter that often times she begged us to let her stay home. So as you can imagine, it was a bit disheartening the following year when we found out Amy would be in her class again. We prayed often that our daughter would have a good school year and make lots of friends. We told her to keep a good attitude and to be nice and kind to Amy no matter what. We assured her she didn’t need to become “best friends” with her but she did need to strive to “love her neighbor.” As she performed small acts of kindness and respect, she and Amy naturally grew to become close friends again. Toward the end of the school year, I went to pick up our daughter from a birthday party. As the girls lined up to take a picture I saw her and Amy put their hands around each other’s necks. It was such a touching moment and I knew our prayers had been answered.

Application

Questions
-What are some ways we can love God?
-What are some ways we can love our neighbors?
-When you and your siblings argue or fight, what should you do?
-If there are some kids at school you don’t get along with, what can you do to love them?

Forgiving Others

Scenarios:
A child has been offended by a sibling, friend or parent

Scripture Lesson:
Shortly after Christ taught that offending others was a serious sin, he suggested we forgive those who offend us. Peter then asked him how much patience we should have, or how many times should we forgive.

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22)

Question: Why did Christ say we should forgive until seventy times seven times; do you think he really meant we should forgive someone 490 times (70×7)?

He then goes on to share a story to explain the importance of forgiving others. He tells of a servant who owed a King lots of money. After the servant plead for forgiveness, the King forgave all of his debt.

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. (Matthew 18:23-27)

Questions:
Who do the king and the servant represent in this story?
Why do you think the king forgave all of the servant’s huge debt?
If you were a king, would you forgive a huge debt? But it’s a lot of money lost?

Unfortunately, this same servant had someone who owed him a tiny bit of money (much smaller than what he owed the king) and he didn’t show this man the same amount of forgiveness the King had showed him.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. (Matthew 18:27-30)

Questions:
Who does the fellowservant in this story represent?
Why do you think the servant did not forgive his fellowservent even though it wasn’t a lot of money and especially after he was forgiven such a large debt?
What do you think should happen to the servant who wouldn’t forgive?

Some people noticed how this servant was treating his fellowservant and told the king. Let’s see what the king did.

So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:30-35)

Questions:
Why do you think the master punished him?
Did he plan on punishing him forever (read it carefully)?

Story: A few years ago, the morning after we had moved into a new home was quite stressful. I had to take the moving truck back and get to work in time for a meeting while my wife had to drive our kids to their new school and get them settled in. I remembered last minute that I needed to return the moving truck with a full tank of gas. Because I was already running late, I rushed the moving truck into the gas station and ended up ramming the cement posts that protect the gas. I had damaged this very expensive vehicle and was nervous of how much it was going to cost me. To my great surprise, the moving truck store manager forgave my debt; I didn’t have to pay for any of the damage. I was extremely grateful for his kindness, patience, and forgiveness. Later that day, I called my wife to tell her the story but before I could get to it she told me in her haste to get the kids to school she had accidentally backed into another car and it was going to cost us several hundred dollars. I began to feel frustrated and upset with her even though I had made a greater mistake. In my mind, there were excuses for my behavior but not hers – I was driving a giant vehicle for the first time, because it is so high up I didn’t see the small cement posts, the gas station only has a small amount of space to work with, etc. Just as I was about to express my frustration I thought of this wonderful story that Christ had told and I began to calm down. Realizing, I’d been forgiven a much greater debt, there was no other choice but to forgive her. As I forgave her this incredible feeling of gratitude warmed my heart.

Application
Questions:
What should you do when a sibling, friend, or even a parent does something that makes us upset or feel sad?
What should we do when we have been forgiven for a wrong we’ve done?