Sunday, July 2, 2017

Compassion Matters


Devotional 3 highlights a powerful aspect of the character of God: compassion.  This devotional, like the others, is timed for less than 10 minutes, but feel free to slow down if your kids are older or have a longer attention span.  Parents your notes are in italics.  Happy studying!



Compassion Matters 

To Do:

Read Colossians 3:1-4.  Say the verses aloud once or twice and see if anyone can recite the first or second verse on their own.  Then read Colossians 3:12-14.

Questions to Ask: 

*What is compassion? To be compassionate means that you are moved to help when you see someone who hurting because their pain/fear/sorrow makes you feel bad too.  Notice that compassion is more than a feeling.  In the New Testament Jesus’ compassion drives him to help. 

*Can you think of a time that Jesus was compassionate? The woman at the well (John 4), the woman caught in adultery (John 8: 1-11), feeding the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21) are all exanples.  If the kids think of a story but don’t know the details don’t hesitate to look it up and read it aloud! 

*When was someone compassionate to you? When were you compassionate to someone? For these questions be sure that you have an example to share and take the appropriate moment to praise anytime you have seen siblings be compassionate recently!

*Why is compassion hard? Although as adults our focus may be very wide, envisioning compassion as helping refugees from Syria or helping victims of a natural disaster, children are more likely to understand compassion as what is done for and with the other children close to them.  Accept any answer that is on topic and help them see that when we are busy, absorbed in a book or play, or have our own problems, it can be hard to think about how other people feel. 

Insights: 

Compassion. Sympathy.  Humility.  Traits we and our children need!  1 Peter 3:8 (NIV)
As my oldest daughter began to mature, suddenly she was able to see the adults around her as people who might need compassion.  Before a certain age children see adults as aliens who are impossible to relate to; they struggle see how their words or actions impact the adults around them.  (Think about a child screaming “I hate you” and slamming the door.  A certain amount of immaturity and self-absorption is required not to see or care about his/her mother’s tears)  As we welcomed two extra members into our family for a few weeks, of course the number  of chores that needed done immediately increased.  Seeing my work load, my teen had compassion on me; without being asked she  pitched in at every opportunity to make things easier.  

This devotional may be a good time to let kids know that  adults sometimes forget what it is like to be small.  We should try to ‘walk a mile in their shoes’ and have compassion. Children also need to stretch their imaginations and try to think about things from an adult's perspective.  That's what compassion is all about. 



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