Family Devotional: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

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Whether it’s through family devotionals or how we prioritize our family life, teaching kids about Jesus is something Christian parents are trying to do all the time. This devotional focuses on how we can be more like Jesus in how we treat others, including each other. It’s a great lesson Jesus taught us and a message that can truly transform the world, as well as our homes.

A Modern-Day Good Samaritan

Not too long ago late at night, my neighbor was rushing to his car to go to a friend’s house when he saw something on the ground. He wasn’t sure what it was, so he stopped and looked a little harder. He suddenly realized it was a man, face down on the ground, and seemingly unconscious with his dogs loose on a leash. 

The young man didn’t even turn his car off or take his keys; he simply jumped out and rushed over to help the man. He called 911, took care of the man’s dogs, and eventually took them to the man’s house. Everything turned out fine, but the injured man was suffering from a rare form of cancer and fell down after a reaction to his medicine. If the young man had not intervened and ignored the other man, the outcome would not have been so good. 

This is an example of loving others more than our schedules, more than our needs, and more than our wants. It’s an example of loving our neighbor.

How Can You Love Your Neighbors?

Jesus said that one of the most important commandments is “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-40). This sounds easy, doesn’t it? But we get distracted, we get busy, and we don’t always pay attention to what others might be going through in their lives. Sometimes it’s because we are going through hard things ourselves and we don’t even notice.

Ask your kids: What does it mean to be a neighbor? You may be surprised at their answers! Share with them that according to Vine’s Greek New Testament Dictionary, the Bible word for neighbor in Greek is much more expansive than the English word. To be a neighbor doesn’t mean simply to live next to someone, but to be helpful, sincere, and kind. Brainstorm with your family how you can do this in your lives.

  • You can help others – Groceries, lawn care, opening doors, returning shopping carts, etc.
  • You can be real – In your relationships with others, don’t try to be something you are not.
  • You can be kind to others – We are called to show kindness to other people even when they are not kind to us. 

Learning About Love from the Good Samaritan

Jesus shows us how to love our neighbor by telling the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Read the story of the Good Samaritan to your kids or watch this short episode of The Jesus Stories. Ask your kids some leading questions, such as:

  • Why do you think all of the other people passed the injured man by?
  • Do we ever do things like this in our own lives?
  • Why do you think the Good Samaritan decided to help him?
  • Do you think this is something that he just started doing that day? Or, do you think he tried to help others whenever the opportunity came his way?

Jesus wants us to see things from His perspective. When we read the Bible, we’re not just learning about Jesus, but learning to be more like Jesus. The Good Samaritan story is a lesson on how we can be more like Jesus by helping and loving everyone, even people overlooked by others. 

After all, this is what Jesus did for us. When we were lost and left for dead because of our sin (Ephesians 2:1), Jesus didn’t ignore us or proudly look away, but picked us up, rescued us, and brought us home to His Father’s house forever. Everything that Jesus asks us to do mirrors what He has already done for us.

Who is My Neighbor?

Reinforce to your kids that your neighbor can be anyone around you who needs help, needs a friend, or needs you to pray for them. This can be at school, at home, at church, etc. This is important to emphasize since Christian parenting doesn’t stop at the church door or with family devotionals. It’s important to help your kids understand that their “Good Samaritan” story may not include someone lying on the side of the road, but it could be anyone they encounter. Ask them to think back over the past week. Did they encounter any situations where they could have shown love?

Some examples might include:

  • Helping a friend with a problem.
  • Helping someone carry in a load of items into church or their home.
  • Praying for someone who is going through a difficult time and making sure they know you are there for them.
  • Sending a card or letter to someone.

The amount of ways we can show love to others is endless.

Finding Ways to Love

One of the ways that loving your neighbors can become second nature is through being deliberate and intentional. We should be constantly in tune with others and aware of their possible needs. Ask your kids about ways to show God’s love to people they meet and see on a day-to-day basis, as well as ways that you can show God’s love to others as a family. Write these things down and make the list prominent in your home. As these things become a priority in your family, they might even become second nature! Through your family, many people will have the opportunity to experience the love of God.

A Prayer of Love

Finally, wrap up your family devotional time with a prayer. You can ask your kids which neighbors they’d like to pray for, or you can pray together the prayer we’ve provided below. 

Dear Jesus, thank you for loving us and coming to rescue us. Please show us how to love our neighbors and friends. Help us to be more aware of others and their needs. We don’t want to be like those in the Good Samaritan story who passed up an opportunity to show love. Help us be like the Good Samaritan – and to be like You. Amen.

For more engaging Bible stories, Sunday School lessons, and positive media check out our online catalogue of resources to help you teach the Bible to kids!