Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (NIV) Luke 6:36
Throughout the Bible, people have given many names to God. Sometimes, they were given in response to something God had done; other times, they were to describe who he is. Sometimes, God describes himself with his own name. In this month’s devotion and parent blog series, we’ll discuss four names of God (Father of Compassion, I AM WHO I AM, The Lord is Peace, and The Righteous God), think about how each name describes God, and how that name helps us understand the attributes that we also should aspire to have.
In Luke 6:36, Jesus tells us, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” We remember also that God, "the Father of compassion" (2 Corinthians 1:3-7), is the source of it all. So, how do we teach our children the importance of love, kindness, and mercy in a world filled with hatred, tension, and division? We must teach our children that kindness, compassion, and mercy are possible and God is still the source of it all (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). In Luke 6:36, he tells us, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” During Black History Month, let's be intentional and educate our family on the importance of God's compassion and share his mercy toward others. Here are some things you can do each week.
Week 1 - Start with Scripture. Read through what the Bible teaches about injustice, justice, and mercy. Point out to your children that God covers every issue we face in his Word. A solid foundation of truth is essential when dealing with injustice, hatred, and division. The most incredible tool we can arm our children with is the truth of God's Word. Here are a few verses to get the conversation started.
Week 2 - Identify the injustice in the world, country, and community. It may be a complex topic to discuss, but it is necessary. Take time to watch the news headlines and talk about the injustices. Why is it unjust? Problem-solve with your children in ways that the situation could be handled differently.
Week 3 - Counteract the injustices of the world with mercy. Using some examples from Scripture, talk about ways that mercy could have been shown in situations that turned out unjust. How could kindness and love have been demonstrated to diffuse situations? It is also essential to inform our children that kindness may not be received even though it is shown. Discuss how to handle those situations.
Week 4 - Make a plan of action. Because our children will not always be with us, we must consider how they should respond in certain situations. Thinking ahead about what they may say or how they may react helps them demonstrate God's mercy. Go through scenarios that your children might encounter in life: being pulled over by the police, being called names, or even being threatened. You can also talk about things that happened before. How will they handle them differently if the situation occurs again?
As human beings, it is not our nature to be kind to people who mistreat us. Our instinct tells us to get revenge. Yet, when we become children of God, we become new people in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). God's love, grace, and mercy are stronger than ever and without end. This means we have access to those things to make the world a better place. Our goal as parents is to teach our children the love of God and how to share it with everyone around them.
Want to dig deeper? Check out this article from Family Fire, Building God’s Diverse Kingdom: Talking About Race.