Every week you’ll find different types of posts here on the ABS blog. Today’s post is for teachers, to encourage conversation and reflection in your Bible study group. Each “Let’s Talk About” activity can be used at any time during your meeting and lasts approximately 10-15 minutes.
Today, let's talk about...
“But I say to you who are willing to hear: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer the other one as well. If someone takes your coat, don’t withhold your shirt either. 30 Give to everyone who asks and don’t demand your things back from those who take them. 31 Treat people in the same way that you want them to treat you.
32 “If you love those who love you, why should you be commended? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, why should you be commended? Even sinners do that. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, why should you be commended? Even sinners lend to sinners expecting to be paid back in full. 35 Instead, love your enemies, do good, and lend expecting nothing in return. If you do, you will have a great reward. You will be acting the way children of the Most High act, for he is kind to ungrateful and wicked people. 36 Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate.
37 “Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good portion—packed down, firmly shaken, and overflowing—will fall into your lap. The portion you give will determine the portion you receive in return.”
Treat people in the same way that you want them to treat you. —Luke 6:31
We live in a toxic climate with people on opposing sides trying to out-shout, out-meme, out-slogan, and out-do one another using put-downs. Yes, to create space for real listening and dialogue, Christians are called to act; but in doing so, we must rise above name-calling, fear-mongering, blaming, and attacking. We are called to lead the way in changing the language and the assumptions used in such debates. In the end it is not winning the debate that matters; it is winning the hearts of those we oppose. The only way we can do that is by treating others with respect, listening without making assumptions, asking questions, and finding common ground on which to work for compromise. When we do that out of love, we will restore relationships and build bridges toward real and lasting change.
Questions to talk about:
What are some names you, or people who believe as you believe, have been called? How does it feel to be called such names or labels?
What assumptions are made when there is name-calling or labeling?
What is the problem with creating either/or arguments, such as, “If you are not with us, you are against us”?
How does treating others the way you want to be treated help build bridges?