God was kind to us even when we didn’t deserve it. Even when we were still sinners, Jesus died for us. Because of God’s great love for us, we can be kind to everyone.Jesus personified kindness in the way He lived and interacted with the people He met. But, as we read the Gospels, we find that Jesus didn’t just model kindness. He commanded it. By treating others the way we want to be treated, we live out the way Jesus taught us to live.
Key Question: What does kindness look like? While this may seem like a simple question, preteens need to start from a concrete idea before connecting that idea to their own life. When kids can identify the kindness of others, they have a better chance of replicating that in their own life. We want kids to figure out how they can show kindness to others based on the ways people have been kind to them.
We start the month talking about the foundation for our kindness. In Titus 3:4-7, Paul talked about God’s amazing kindness towards us. God poured out His kindness when He sent Jesus to rescue us from the consequences of our sin. We can have life forever because of God’s kindness and love.
Bottom Line: Be kind to others because God is kind to you. We pray that as kids learn about God’s kindness through Jesus, they will see how they can reflect God’s kindness to the people in their life.
Key Question: When is it hard to be kind? If we’re completely honest, we encounter situations when we don’t feel like being kind. Preteens are starting to understand how to think about what they do and don’t want to do. We hope they can work through the difficulties they face when showing kindness when they don’t want to show kindness. If they can identify when it’s hard to be kind, they can figure out a plan to help them show kindness anyway.
In Ruth 1 and 2, we find Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth. Their husbands have died and Ruth has the opportunity to return home to her family. Instead, she chooses to show kindness to Naomi and stay with her. Ruth's kindness doesn't go unnoticed. Boaz notices how Ruth is caring for her mother-in-law. He goes above and beyond to care for Ruth and completely changes her life.
Bottom Line: Be kind to your family and friends. When it comes to our family and friends, we often find ourselves taking them for granted. We hope through the story of Ruth, kids will learn to show kindness to those we care about most.
Key Question: Have you ever received unexpected kindness? Often the best kindness is the kindness that feels completely random. Help kids discover how they feel when someone surprises them with kindness. Help them figure out the unexpected ways they can show kindness to people in their life.
In Matthew 25:35-40,we’ll revisit one of Jesus' teachings on kindness. For one reason or another, people are overlooked every day—no one even notices them, much less shows kindness to them. But Jesus says that when we show kindness to one of the least of these, it's as if we're showing kindness to Him. We hope to discover how they can show kindness to people who are overlooked in their world.
Bottom Line: Be kind to people who are overlooked. Everyone deserves to be treated like they’re valuable, no matter who they are. We hope kids start to see people who have needs and work with the adults in their life to show kindness and meet those needs.
Key Question: How can you be kind to people you don’t get along with? There are times when we face people who we feel don’t deserve our kindness. Most likely, preteens have a list of people who they don’t get along with and why those people don’t deserve their kindness. But Jesus tells us to love our enemies. Through this question, we hope kids start to discover how they can show kindness to people who fall into this category. We finish out our month in Matthew 5:43-48. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expands the scope of who deserves our kindness. Not everyone will be kind to us; some may be quite mean to us. Jesus says that we should love our enemies and pray for them.
Bottom Line: Be kind to people who aren’t kind to you. As kids discover what Jesus says about loving our enemies, we pray that your kids discover ways they can show God’s love and kindness to people they might not get along with all of the time. They don’t have to be best friends, but they can be kind.