Raising Home Run Kids

Introduction:

Christianity, at its core, is about relationships. While the Bible certainly contains wonderful, life-changing theology, it is not a book of dry doctrines. It is a dramatic account of men and women who learned to love each other as they followed God. Jesus modeled this message by investing time in His disciples. He didn’t float around on a pillow like Yoda while dispensing otherworldly wisdom. He hiked through Israel with His friends. They got their feet dirty together. He fished with them, ate with them and just hung out with them. If we are to raise home run kids, we can’t skip second base where we learn to be in community and the value of relationships. Because the first visible symptom of running the bases backwards is in our view and treatment of the people around us.

Something To Talk About:

It is easier to focus on projects and goals instead of relationships and people. People are messy; relationships, complicated. Second base is relationally capable kids, who love others. We do this in three ways:   

  1. Show Respect: People are important to God. He created them, and He loves them. People are important to Christians too. Every person is valuable because every person is made in the image of God. We should extend our Christian love to all people of the world, regardless of race, religion, nationality or any other artificial distinction. Raising home run kids means following Jesus’ golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We as adults and our children  should answer the question, “What would I want to happen in that situation?” Neither should we fail to do the good things we would expect of others.
  2. Have Compassion: Relationships are important because we are created for relationship with God and one another. It’s who we are. We need to value one another and we put effort and energy into establishing and maintaining healthy relationships with God and others because we are never more like God than when we truly love one another. Regardless of the quality of those relationships, we should show compassion to others. We should value people, but that does not mean we embrace or endorse their values. It is all too easy to try to absorb and assimilate cultural viewpoints and develop a shared set of values. But Christian and cultural values don’t mix well in many cases. Raising home run kids means that  we can appreciate and even respect the values of others, but we must not forget our status as “temporary residents and foreigners.” (1 Peter 2:11) 
  3. Give forgiveness: To forgive is to release. Let it go. Freely and wholeheartedly grant freedom and blessing. It has very little to do with feelings or even trust. Forgiveness is simply a decision to let go of our regrets and our own view of justice. Lily Tomlin captured a wonderful summary of forgiveness: “To forgive is to give up all hope for a better past.” When we are angry at somebody, we tend to lose our perspective about that person. When we’re filled with resentment and bitterness and hurt, we tend to dehumanize the offender. But what we need to know is that as adults, and as children, we are all in the same boat. The Bible says, “Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) We’re all imperfect. And in the long run, the person who will get hurt the most is the person who does not forgive.

Questions:

  1. What does it mean to value people? 
  2. Why are friendships so important? Why do you think that God created us to need relationships? Reflect on your life and the life of your children: What relationships have mattered most in your/their life? 
  3. Community is not defined by warm and fuzzy feelings. Rather it is defined by authentic relationships. Agree or disagree and why? Is it the same for our kids?
  4. We will never experience authentic community until we are willing to personally sacrifice for each other. Agree or disagree and why?
  5. What are the biggest obstacles to doing what we say, giving, taking and forgiving?
  6. What do you feel like God is asking you to do in response to Sunday’s message? What is your next step?

Take One Thing Home with You:

Relationships, friendships and the golden rule. In Luke 6:31 Jesus says, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” This rule is so powerful. If we could all follow this one rule of God, the world would change overnight. It would strengthen religious and secular relationships.

Ask yourself a simple question: “What would I want to happen in that situation?” If you want help, then don’t deny help to someone in need. If you want love, then show love to others. If you wish to be spoken to with respect, then speak respectfully to others. And most importantly, if you want mercy in your time of failure, then show mercy to someone in their time of failure. It just makes so much sense, but it goes against our nature. Sin can make us proud and judgmental. We should rejoice and be grateful when we walk in victory, but remember things could change quickly. When others need a word of encouragement, remember it might be you or me that needs the encouragement in the future. Because we all have sinned, we are all in a sense, on the same team. Our duty in raising home run kids is to help each other up, and push each other higher. And that happens by doing unto others, as you would have them do unto you.