Is it enough to only say we value others? Or do our actions need to match what we say? In “Actions that Honor Life” (the second part of the “Sanctity of Life” series), children will learn that their responses to others is a reflection of their love for God and his valued importance on life.
TARGET AGES: 8-12
OBJECTIVE: Children will learn how their life-honoring actions toward others reflect their belief in Jesus Christ.
MAIN IDEA: To honor life, we must treat others with kindness and respect. We need to respond to others according to how we would like to be treated.
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: Matthew 22:36-40, Matthew 5:21-24, James 3:9-10 & 17-18
MATERIAL(S): white board or poster board, “Actions that Honor Life” word search (attachment), writing utensils
Introduction (10 minutes)
OPENING PRAYER: “Lord, help us honor life through what we say and how we act toward others. Amen.”
ICE BREAKER DISCUSSION: Say, “Today our entire lesson will be about problems and solutions.” Give the class an example of a problem (e.g. a flat tire) and possible solutions (using the spare tire or calling for help). Ask the class to give examples of problems and help them identify biblical solutions. Comment, “We all have a big problem – we don’t always treat others the way God intends. So, to truly honor life, we are going to identify solutions that will help us treat others appropriately.”
Lesson (15 minutes)
- To prepare, write each scripture passage on the board followed by columns that say, “Problem,” and “Solution.” Throughout the lesson, write the problem being addressed and the biblical solution.
- Comment, “To honor life, our actions toward others must match what the God’s word says.” Read Matthew 22:36-40. Ask the class to identify the greatest commandment (“…love the Lord your God…”). Say, “This means our love for God motivates our love and kindness toward others. When we ‘love [our] neighbor as [ourselves],’ we will treat others the way we want to be treated.” Help the class identify the problem (we don’t treat others well) and the solution (love God first, love others second) and write the answers on the board.
- Next, ask the class to find Matthew 5:21-22. After reading the passage ask, “What is the problem that Jesus identifies (our anger/sin toward others)? What warnings does he give us (we will be judged, our anger could cost us something, we will be in danger of hell)?” Brainstorm as a class how anger toward others can be prevented, such as taking a moment to think before reacting or removing one’s self from a tempting situation. Then read the solution in verses 23-24. Say, “When we act poorly toward someone, God wants us to ask for forgiveness and do what we can to be reconciled with that person. We must ask the Lord to help us be humble and accept responsibility for our faults.” Write the problem and solution to the passage on the board. Also, emphasize that it’s impossible to honor God if we allow hatred for others to fill our hearts.
- Lastly, discuss what it means to be a hypocrite. Ask, “If a doctor doesn’t work toward saving lives is he really a doctor? Or if a teacher never teaches is he really a teacher? Likewise, the bible is very clear that if we say we are believers in Christ then we are supposed to act like believers.” Read James 3:9-10 to identify the problem (praising God/cursing others) and write it on the board. Then read verses 17-18 to identify the solution (being pure, peace-loving, submissive, merciful, etc) and write it on the board. Help the class understand that no one is a perfect follower of Jesus, but what matters to God is that we have the desire to live and act according to his word. Say, “When we are peaceful and humble among conflict, others will want to know Christ. Our actions have an extremely important role in professing our beliefs, so we need to be quick to ask for forgiveness when we make mistakes and remember that God values all life.”
“Actions that Honor Life” Word Search (download here): (15 minutes)
Pass out the word search and writing utensils. Ask the class to complete the word search to review the positive actions we should take to show that we value life.
Conclusion (5 minutes)
RECAP: We must first love God to love and value others. Also, we should strive to be humble peacemakers who reflect the love of Christ through our actions.
CLOSING PRAYER: “God, we want to show others that we value life. Please help us respond in a loving and biblical manner toward others. Amen.”