"Love thy Neighbor". This needs to be blown up and spread everywhere! There is so much hate going on these days and not enough love. We are suppose to love even our enemies! That rude customer or cranky old person, we are suppose to love them too! That bully and that thief, we are suppose to love them as well! Love like Jesus. Christians are suppose to be Christ like. If Christs can ask God for forgiveness of His enemies, than surely we can as well! Here is a list of stories to teach our youth (and remind ourselves) about loving everyone!
The Good Samaritan. Luke 10:25-37
This parable is a great example of loving your neighbor. Not only does it teach us to love our neighbor but it answers one main reason why when Jesus tells the Lawyer that it is what we must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus teaches us who our neighbor is. The Samaritan did not know who the man was that he helped, only that he needed someone to show him compassion.
The priest passed by him probably thinking he was to important of a man to bother helping some random man who had no title. So many people of all ages behave this way often. I've seen plenty of preachers kids, or kids of other people that have an important job in the church, behave just like this. A new kid will come that has no christian upbringing. They'll be a little rough around the edges but if you look closely they are trying to cry out for help. They are trying their best to see what this christian life is about, but when they are shunned by these "preppy" christian kids they decide church life is just the same as being bullied by the popular kids at school. Churches start getting caught up with being in their own group that they forget that there should be no requirements to join the group. I'm talking about both adult and youth Christians. We invited a church youth group over once to a youth service, after service our youth tried to invite them to play a game they often play afterwards but the group just laughed a little at their childish game and went to stand around talking among their selves.
Is this really how Christians should be treating each other? How we should be treating the lost and hurting? We need to be like the Samaritan and show compassion to ALL. The Samaritan was the only one being a true neighbor to the man who was hurt. He took the time to fix his wounds and helped him up and walked while letting the injured man ride his animal. The Samaritan gave what he had and to help him and then gave made sure he was in good hands before he left him. Then after he helped the man find a safe place he still promised to come back to check on him and take care of any money extra money that he may have needed. Don't forget to check up on your neighbor after you help him, he just might need a little more help later on.
Here is a story about loving the neighbors that are hard to love. God told Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and turn them from their evil ways. Jonah was afraid of the people and also thought that they deserved whatever terrible things came their way. With only 4 chapters the book of Jonah could easily be split into to lessons for your 12 and up kids. First lesson being about the importance of not running from God and His purpose for our lives. Running did no good for Jonah and proved that we can never hid from God. If God can command the seas then He is more than capable of protecting us while we are doing His work.
Second lesson is of course is to love all. Even the ones doing evil. Be kind to all, even the bullies, the thieves, and the criminals. Show love to the ones who show no love, they need it the most. Maybe they don't know what love is so they simply don't know how to show it. Maybe they are out of love and need a refill from someone, fill a person with so much love that they have some left over to start handing out as well! Return the hate someone shows you with love. The popular saying is true "kill them with kindness". Sometimes a bully just enjoys seeing you get angry so if you are slow to anger like the Bible says we should be, they will back off and maybe wonder what it must be like to have the love and peace that you show even when being bullied.
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