This short Bible lesson for children comes from Matthew 5:38-48 where Jesus discusses how to respond to our enemies. This material will work as a Sunday School lesson or in Children’s Church.
Time: 25 Minutes
Learning Objectives: After this lesson….
- Children discuss the key people and main message of these verses by retelling the lessons Jesus gave to His listeners.
- Children discuss what they learn about Jesus’ view on how to treat our enemies.
- Children discuss responses to enemies that would please the Lord in their given situations.
Curriculum Target Age: Kindergarten-5th
- Bible: Matthew 5:38-48. Prepare beforehand a copy with the important points highlighted to ensure specific explanations on them.
- Visual Aids: Pictures of Jesus and crowds around Him
- Optional: You could use this free coloring page and lesson ideas about loving your enemies from Sojourn Kids.
Love Your Enemies Lesson for Kids:
Establish the lesson by briefly explaining who the key people to the story are by showing the pictures of Jesus and the crowds and their role in the story. Make sure the children know that Jesus shared this on what is known as “The Sermon on the Mount.”
Prior to reading the story, divide the group of children into two groups and ask one half to listen for what the people had heard about how to treat their enemies. Ask the other half of the children to identify the special lesson Jesus taught the crowds on how He wanted them to treat their enemies.
Read (and Recap) Matthew 5:38-48. Emphasis the words “You have heard…” and “But I say to you…” so the children hear the point that Jesus wants to make regarding how He wants us to respond to our enemies. Reinforce the lesson by asking questions. Is responding to our enemies like Jesus says easy? No. Does Jesus believe we can treat our enemies like He is telling us? Yes, or He wouldn’t ask us to do it. Say to the children, “If we are honest, we don’t want to treat our enemies kindly, do we?”
When you’re finished reading the verses, use the pictures to review the point of what Jesus tried to teach the crowds.
Ask for a response from the children about their listening assignment. What did they learn about what the people had heard? What did they learn about how Jesus wanted them to treat their enemies?
Demonstrate the lesson Jesus had for the crowds by playing a different version of the game, “Mother, May I?” Instruct the student to stand up in a line across the room from you. Tell them you will call them by name and describe an action and if they believe it describes the way the Lord wants them to respond to others they are to ask, “Mother, may I stand by you?” If they answer correctly, answer them, “Yes, you may.” The point is for each child to not to reach you first but to learn the difference between Jesus’ response and what comes natural to us.
Examples of responses: Share favorite toy with friend, invite someone over that you struggle getting along with, punch the person back, say something nice to a person who is usually mean to you, make mean faces at them, buy small gift for them like a candy bar, and pray for them.
Matthew 5:38-48 Lesson Review
- Ask for some volunteers to help retell the story to the class with role-play. Assign one child the role of Jesus and several others as crowd. Ask the remaining of the class to prompt the children by asking, “What happened next?”
- Ask for volunteer to explain Jesus’ message on how to treat their enemies.
- Give a list of possible lessons and ask the children to say, “Praise the Lord” if it was from the story.
- Jesus wants us to be willing to give our coat to someone who might need it? Yes.
- Jesus died on the cross for our sins? True, but not part of this story.
- Jesus wants us to love and pray for our enemies? Yes.
- Jesus says it’s easy to love those who love us, but wants us to love those that aren’t as easy to love? Yes.
- Good and bad happen to all people? Yes.
- Jesus showed that He can walk on water? True, but not in this story.