Loving like Jesus loved: How did Jesus show compassion?

Feb 25, 2019 7:00:00 AM / by Amber Lappin

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To celebrate the month of love, I’m sharing some of my favorite Bible stories that show little ones – our preschoolers, babies, and toddlers – about Jesus and love. Earlier this month, I highlighted two blog posts (here and here that talked about these stories and how you can make them relevant to your little ones and their development.

Today, I’m wrapping up my series with two additional stories that are great examples of love.

Bible Story: Jesus Lays Hands on a Leper (Matthew 8:1-4)

Jesus, in this well-known Bible account, shows love to a leper by touching him, which results in his healing from the disease. This poor man who had likely been suffering from the lack of human touch because of his illness was doubly blessed by the compassion of Christ.  Our children feel love and healing (albeit probably in a less dramatic, though no less important way) when we give them the gift of physical affection.

Hugs and snuggles from family are an important part of a young child’s growth

Though not all children are as enthusiastic about cuddling, studies show that physical contact affects a child’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development. Taking the time to read a story with a child on your lap, spending those few extra moments with your freshly washed baby all snuggled up in a towel or holding hands with your preschooler as you go about your day. These all communicate to your child that they are loved. We can teach them to show love in the same way by taking the time to pretend play with stuffed animals and baby dolls, hugging and kissing the toys and putting them to bed as we say “Oh, you really love that bunny, don’t you? Oh, that kiss was sweet.”

The more our children understand the warm, comforting nature of love, the more they’ll be able to respond to the affection of our wonderful God, who wants us to know Him as our Comforter.

Bible Story: Jesus washes feet (John 13:1-17)

After a long day of travel, Jesus shows love to his disciples by washing their dusty, tired feet. This is a job that they could have easily done themselves, or a servant could have handled. Instead, Jesus wraps himself with a towel and takes care of His closest friends. By this simple sacrifice, Jesus demonstrates one more way to show love to our children: by serving them. 

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Sometimes you just need love

In many ways, this is a built-in part of our jobs as parents. We know that young children are largely dependent on us, particularly babies. However, there are many opportunities as children get older to either help them or teach them to offer help for no other reason, but love. 

In the U.S., we can often get so enthusiastic about raising strong, independent children (which is not an entirely bad thing), we can forget that interdependence is closer to the model provided for us through Christ.  

Taking a moment to help a child clean up their room (even though they are capable of doing it themselves) helps them experience the good feeling that comes from someone lending a hand. It teaches them to look around for chances to give that good feeling to others. We can also reinforce this behavior by asking for their help with simple tasks and then remarking things like “Wow! You’re such a helpful guy today! I feel super loved!”

As we teach our children that love can be shared by helping one another, we are helping raise children who are servant-minded and also able to ask for help through prayer to a God who loves to care for us.

 

There are so many more examples of love in the Bible.  In addition to looking for clues for yourself to follow, you can also spend time pointing out God’s love as you read Bible stories to your children.  “Oh, look! God loved Mary so much, He sent an angel so she wouldn’t be afraid!” or “Wow! Jesus loves his friends so much!”

The time you spend snuggled up reading together can help touch on all of the Love Languages explored in the writings of Gary Chapman. This way, you will teach love in the most productive method, real and lasting.

 

Interested in helping your little ones learn how to share love with those in their lives? Check out our FREE downloadable Love Notes, perfect for February and all year long to share messages of love and compassion.

 

Topics: Early Childhood Ministry

Amber Lappin

Written by Amber Lappin

Amber is a speaker and writer with over 25 years of experience in early childhood development and children’s ministry. She works as an associate professor at Mt. San Jacinto Community College in the child development education department, and as a grant program director for two nationally accredited preschools. Amber enjoys "small town" Southern California living with her husband of 25 years, Jason, and their three children.

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