“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.'” – Matthew 22:37-39 NIV
We tend to think of kids as innocent and kind, but sometimes kids can be cruel and selfish, especially as they approach puberty. There are times that kids will do things that make me proud but then the following week say something that is really harsh.
Kids don’t automatically know how to love their neighbors.
When I see negative behavior in kids, it’s not my job to punish; rather I see it as an indicator that I need to teach on walking in love. Then I trust the Holy Spirit inside them to bring correction.
Here are some of the negative tendencies that kids can have and how I counter them.
1. Punishing Words Kids can be incredibly cruel at times, especially in groups. I counter this by teaching what the Apostle Paul said. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Eph. 4:29 KJV).
2. Negative Thinking This may seem hard, but it’s not really difficult to pick out the kids that have low self-esteem. This is critical for two reasons. It’s not what their heavenly Father thinks of them, and it’s hard to love others if they don’t even like themselves. I counter this by going out of my way to say positive things or ask the kids that have self-esteem to help me.
3. Blaming Others Not always but many times blaming is an indicator of unforgiveness. To counter this, I teach on how Jesus not only died for my sins, He died for those who sinned against me. It’s offensive to Jesus if I try to make them pay.
4. Wanting More Things One of the worst habits a child can develop is a sense of entitlement. This is the attitude that the world owes me simply because I exist. This habit is reinforced in American culture because we equate gift giving with love. Counter this by teaching the kids to be givers: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NIV). You can also encourage your kids to walk in love by publicly praising the kids that you catch being kind.
February is right around the corner and it is the perfect time to teach on love.
Capitalize on this opportunity to counter the negative behavior and plant the seeds of God’s Word in your students hearts to be love in action.
These are the series on love I use in my kids ministry and each lesson is packed with God’s Word.
Here’s a look at the first six weeks:
Lesson 1: God’s Love Is Unconditional – 1 John 4:7
Lesson 2: Four Kinds Of Love – John 13:34
Lesson 3: Agape Love Is Inside Us – Romans 5:5
Lesson 4: Selfishness Is Absorbed In God’s Love – 1 Corinthians 13:5
Lesson 5: Love Is Kind – Ephesians 4:32
Lesson 6: Forgive & Forget – Ephesians 4:32
These are powerful truths we want our kids to discover and take to heart as young believers so they can be God’s love to those around them.