Justice-Seeking: Benefit of the doubt.
Saying the memory verse together at suppertime will imprint it on the hearts of your children forever.
Be patient, bearing with one another in love.
How often do you jump to conclusions? It's easy to do and we do it a lot. We make judgments about people based on their appearance, their homes, their cars, their jobs. We jump to conclusions about their motives. We accuse them of being hypocrites.
But God calls us to be patient with others, to bear with one another. My dictionary offers several meanings for "to bear" including to tolerate, or to carry. These two meanings are helpful in understanding what Paul is saying here. When we bear with someone we tolerate them, but not in a negative way. We carry them when we make allowances for their weaknesses or idiosyncrasies. We carry them when we listen to them and allow them the benefit of the doubt.
The benefit of the doubt is a gift that we can give each other. Do we hear a rumor? An accusation? We don't rush to judgment; we give the benefit of the doubt and wait for all the facts before making a judgment.
Love is the motivator for our patience. God is patient with us. He strengthens us in our weaknesses and helps us carry our burdens (Psalm 68:19). In fact, in Christ he takes our weaknesses and burdens on himself, giving us the freedom to belong to him and to love others.
JUST THE FACTS
How well did you listen to the story?
Q. What did Liz find on the floor of the jewelry store?
A. A plastic decoder ring.
Q. Who called Liz about his detective agency?
A. A newspaper reporter.
Q. Who got arrested for the robbery?
A. Johnny Anole.
Q. Who is not satisfied with the arrest and looks for another answer?
This question is meant to help the children develop a biblical understanding of God, who He is and what He does. The "answer" is not meant for parents to read to their children. Rather its purpose is to assist parents in guiding the conversation to this biblical understanding. We encourage you to use an open Bible in this conversation, building biblical literacy and well as a biblical theology.
Why does God want us to bear with each other?
God's command to us is to love each other. What better way to love than to be patient, to give the benefit of the doubt?