teaching kids to love their enemies

Teaching Kids to Love Their Enemies - Praying for our enemies is one thing. But show them an act of love? For a child, heck, for an ADULT, this is one commandment that’s hard to swallow. When Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, he wasn’t beating around the bush. He was serious. (Matthew 5:44)

When He spoke of love, it wasn’t passive. He wants us to act. Later in Matthew 5, He goes so far as to tell us we get no reward from loving those who already love us. (5:46)

Who are your child’s enemies?

  • The sibling who steals the toys.
  • The friend who didn’t sit next to them at school today.
  • The “unfair” teacher who gave too much homework

Ask them to identify them, if they’re able.

How can they love them?

  • Give them a toy before they try and steal the one they’re playing with.
  • Make a point of telling that person that they missed sitting with them.
  • Turn in all of the unreasonable homework, done well and with a smile.


Praying for them is one thing. But show them an act of love? For a child, heck, for an ADULT, this is one commandment that’s hard to swallow.

When we are wronged, we have to submit our natural urge to seek retaliation. Revenge isn’t sweet. It’s demeaning to the spirit of love that God has placed in our hearts.

Jesus makes a very bold statement. Some would say he was making a crazy statement.

Here’s where we have an opportunity. Jesus was always bold. Jesus was always controversial. Indeed, He was seen as crazy.

Crazy enough to be killed on a cross for what He proclaimed.

Loving our enemies is hard. Hard work is always rewarded, either intrinsically or extrinsically. Helping our kids learn this lesson early in life will help them in proclaiming their faith in the craziest way possible….

…through actually loving those who wrong us.

How have you taught your kids to love their enemies?

When has it been difficult in your own life to model this faith concept?


Linking up with I Should Be Mopping the Floor

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    • {Kathy} Cristin, you’re right on! Kids have a hard time understanding that others irritate or annoy out of low self-esteem.

  • I must admit sometimes my son is better about this than I am. There are days I learn from him more on this topic than he does from me. Loving our enemies is something we all need to work on. Thank you for this important reminder!

    • {Kathy} Candace, thanks for visiting. I agree. Our kids can show immense compassion and understanding. When we take notice, it’s very humbling.

  • This is a tricky one, but I agree that it is a very important lesson. I think this is where we get into allowing our children to be the “mean girl” or boy. We need to teach them that we should be kind — even when others aren’t kind back. I think first we have to model that in our own behavior. When we do that, we are being examples of what it really means to be like Christ. Thanks for a great reminder.

    • {Kathy} I often wonder if parents know that their kid is the “mean girl” or “mean boy” at school. I found that the best way is to offer my cell phone number to parents in the class. I’ve told them, in no uncertain terms, that if their child ever came home complaining or crying about something my kid did to them in school — call me immediately. I want to know. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m glad that my kids know that I’ll know quickly!

  • Wow, that’s a tricky one! I always tried to teach mine to “do as you would be done by” and once or twice a previous “enemy” turned out to be a friend later on – especially when they moved up to a new school – familiar faces and all that. I did let them just not like someone though, without interfering at all. I think it’s ok to grow up knowing you are not going to get on with everyone, as long as you are polite and not mean. Interesting topic though.

    • {Kathy} Hey Julie. Being polite is undervalued in our society. You can get through an awful lot of awkward situations with peers in school by just being polite and moving on. Thanks for visiting.

  • This is so hard to put into practice. Especially when the thing that hurt was intentional. But I have found that there are times I have misread a situation as well- assigned evil intent when there maybe was none. I’m attempting to give the benefit of the doubt and grace. (I’ll admit my first response may not be that but God helps me get there.)

    • {Kathy} Yes, Lori. I struggle with giving the benefit of the doubt. I’m thankful that God gives grace out like candy on Halloween, otherwise I’d be hungry!


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i’m melinda


I’m a woman who was radically changed when the God I thought I knew since childhood opened my eyes to the overwhelming depth of His love for me. I love speaking, writing, and pointing women to the Father so they can experience for themselves the healing power of His incredible, captivating love.

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