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Teaching Children How To Love Their Neighbors as Themselves

How are we putting the second-greatest commandment into practice?

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As Christian parents, our plates are full of responsibilities: training and teaching our children, nurturing them, pointing their little hearts and minds to Christ in all things, let alone keeping them clothed, fed, and alive by the end of each day! What if I told you there was one not-so-small detail you, like so many of us, might be leaving out?

Jesus gives us our greatest commandments, which should be the foundation of the Christian life, in Matthew 22: “…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Even on our worst days, we return to the Lord in our hearts and seek his grace, and our children see and model this. Yet, in the age of active shooter drills in schools, increasing acceptance of “gender fluidity” and other societal dangers from which we want to insulate our precious cargo, how are we putting the second-greatest commandment into practice? How are we loving our neighbor like Jesus, and teaching our kids to do the same?

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Hospitality

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Author Lisa Scandrette grew up in a family that beautifully modeled selfless hospitality. “The walls were elastic,” she shared with Christianity Today, referring to countless Bible studies in her home, foster children that joined their family, and other community engagements her family did together. Now, as a mom of three, Lisa sees this approach as a permanent lifestyle: “We have the opportunity to model the way of love to our kids. Part of the work we do as a family is to encourage each other to extend the sort of belonging we hope to cultivate to the people around us.”

Popping The Bubble

Lindsy Wallace, a missionary with InnerCHANGE, which ministers to the poorest, most vulnerable people in urban areas, notices that Christian culture can often pressure us to raise our children in a protective bubble. Church attendance, Christian schools and friends, and Bible stories are great, but they don’t provide our families with the lived experience of a life that looks like Jesus. “It’s difficult to imagine how a deep love for Jesus and neighbor will develop in our children if all they have is book knowledge of Jesus but have never seen him in the eyes of the poor and have never witnessed their parents visiting him in prison,” Wallace says, referring to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25:35–36.

Immitation

Kathy Khang, author of Raise Your Voice, encourages us to live out and model loving our neighbor for our kids to imitate, just as we do with loving God. “My kids are 22, 18, and 16, and I am still learning about helping them find their own voice,” she says. “I try to model living out my values in ways they can integrate into their own lives as they enter into adulthood: recycle, vote, donate blood, volunteer, advocate, protest with your feet and your budget, but I have to remember they have their own interests, concerns, and skills.”

When we saturate our lives with God’s love for the lost sheep in an active and intentional way, our children, at any age, can learn from us. They can learn how loving God translates to loving our neighbors, and hold both commandments in their hearts as they grow.

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Faith

Catholic Priest Says A Prayer For ‘Unborn Child In The Womb’ During The DNC

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A Catholic priest who was called upon to deliver a prayer during the Democratic National Convention no doubt made quite a few folks very, very angry by praying for and making a plea on behalf of unborn children at the end of the event. Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit who has caused quite a stir in the Catholic Church for his writings about gay and transgender issues, prayed that folks who were watching the event would open their hearts to “those most in need,” which included “the unborn child in the womb.” Here’s more on this from The Washington Examiner: “Help to be a nation where every life is sacred, all people are loved, and all are welcome,” he said. Martin confirmed to the Washington Examiner earlier in the week that his prayer would contain explicit references to the unborn. Although a hot-button issue for much of the Democratic primary, abortion did not play a major role in the Democratic convention. Aside from Martin’s prayer, the issue received only minimal attention, with some speakers mentioning it in their speeches. Republicans, by contrast, are gearing up to make a major issue of abortion at the Republican National Convention next week. In addition to several anti-abortion speakers, the Republican National Committee invited Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, to deliver the convention’s opening prayer. Dolan has previously done so at both the Republican and Democratic conventions, during which he prayed for the protection of the unborn. At the end of the day, abortion is one of the most critical issues to face our culture in modern history. The reason, of course, is because fundamentally, at the core of the issue, is the defense of the most basic right we all have. The God-given right to exist, to live. If we cannot…

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Faith

President Trump Says He’d ‘Go In And Do A Number On Middle East Countries Persecuting Christians’

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President Trump recently said that he would “do a number” on countries located in the Middle East that are persecuting Christians if he could find solid proof and evidence that sort of thing was happening. Christians in that part of the world are heavily persecuted, mostly by radical Muslim government regimes and terrorist groups, for daring to stand up boldly for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here’s more on this from The Washington Examiner: “If you look at the way Christians have been treated in some countries, it’s beyond disgraceful,” Trump said Thursday during a news conference at the White House. “If I had information and if I had absolute proof — some of the stories that we’ve heard, which are not easy, which is not easy to get — I would go in and do a number to those countries like you wouldn’t believe. He added, “What they do to Christians in the Middle East — it’s disgraceful.” Trump made the comment while discussing the nascent “Abraham Accord” treaty to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. This is not only going to be a big help to Christians in that area of the world, but it will also help Israel as well. For many, many years, the Jewish Nation has been surrounded by countries who do not recognize it’s legitimate right to exist. Striking this deal is a first step in changing that way of thinking in that part of the world. It’s something a lot of folks probably never dreamed possible before. Christians are told in the Bible to expect persecutions and to rejoice in suffering for the cause of Christ. However, that doesn’t mean we should allow persecution to continue on as if it’s a good thing. It’s not. If we have an opportunity…

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