Family at its Best… Choose Love

Week #1: Love is a Choice
               Ever feel like you’re failing at “Family”? Someone out there convinced us that the perfect family never fights, eats its vegetables, is filled with warm feelings, and always has a clean house. This ideal simply isn’t real. But there is hope for creating great families and communities of every shape and size. In Family At Its Best, we discover how real people can not just survive but thrive together!
 
Key Points:
-Even our perfect Heavenly Father raised rebellious children.
-Conflict is the normal because selfishness is natural.
-God offers His best for our best …even when we are our worst.
-God chooses to love us. Because God does, we can!
 
BIG IDEA: Family at its best lets love be a choice …even when we don’t feel like it & they don’t deserve it.
 
Further Conversation:
1. Growing up, how did your family handle conflict? Who won and why? How do you naturally respond to conflict in groups today?
2. Read Genesis 6:5-6 Why was God so disappointed? Is this a reasonable assessment of humanity? Why or why not?
3. Read James 4:1-2 What is the root cause of conflict?
4. Read Romans 5:8 What is the relationship like between God and humanity prior to God sending Christ? Why would God send Jesus? How do you respond to this gift of love from God?
6. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 What has God done for us? What does God desire to do through us?
7. Restate the BIG IDEA in your own words. How is it possible to chose to love someone even when we don’t feel it?
8. Who has loved you when you least deserved it? Who do you need to love despite your feelings?
 
Daily Devotions: Go Deeper this Week
 
Monday – John 13:34-35
I love my family, but some days they just make it so hard. They bicker and fight. Can I confess that I just don’t like them in those moments? Sometimes we’re just as childish and unlovable in the church. Some people we just don’t like. Luckily Jesus doesn’t tell us we have to like everyone. But he does tell us that we need to love them. In fact, people will know we follow Jesus by our love. How is love different than like? Who needs your love today?
Pray: Loving Jesus, you gave your life for us. Help me love you and show the world who you are by how I love others like you did!
 
Tuesday – John 3:16-17
Few verses in the Bible so succinctly capture a critical life-changing truth like John 3:16. “For God so loved the world…” Reading these words drives home the depth of God’s sacrificial love for us. In fact, these words might be the way God reached you with salvation through Jesus. But these words tell us more. They tell how God loves and how God wants us to love. Love is a choice God made. He gave his best, Jesus, so that we could have the best, eternal life with God. Love is a choice. We choose to receive it. Have you received Jesus? And we choose to give it. Who needs to know your love even though they don’t deserve it?
Pray: Almighty God, you showed me unconditional love. You invite me to show others that same love. Help me love others today.
 
Wednesday – Genesis 4:1-16
I love that the Bible tells the story of Cain and Abel. Little did Adam and Eve know that their son…the first born human, Cain…would brutally murder the second born human, Abel. This is how the bible introduces the idea of family. There is no fairytale portrait of the perfect family. The bible doesn’t set absurdly unrealistic standards for community. No, the Bible tells us that basically since the beginning we have experienced conflict, selfishness, and brokenness. I also love that the God doesn’t leave us there. John 3:16 begins, “For God so loved the world.” God responds to our brokenness with love. How do you respond to God? How is God’s love changing how your respond to others?Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for your love that finds me broken and through your Son Jesus, makes me whole.
 
Thursday – Luke 6:27-36
“But to those willing to listen.” I love how Jesus starts this teaching. You just know somethings radical and profound is about to flow from his lips. “Love your enemies!” Wow! We’ve heard this truth so many times that its impossible to appreciate the shock this must have caused. We hate enemies. We fight enemies. We don’t love enemies. Many people didn’t want to hear anything else that followed. Many today still are not willing to listen. Jesus calls us to a radical kind of love that challenges us to put aside the pain and hurt someone may have caused us. Jesus pushes us to give someone our best when they deserve it least. “Love your enemies.” Are you willing to really hear this teaching and live it out? How could you love this way today?
Pray: Holy Spirit, help me see who I need to love even though they may least deserve it. I want to be willing to listen and love.
 
Friday – Genesis 3:1-13
We know the blame game well in our home. It is always someone else’s fault. God gave Adam and Eve one simple instruction. Yet they couldn’t keep the command. Sure, the serpent gave them a push. But in the end, it was their choice. Confronted with the truth, both Adam and Eve seek to shift the blame and avert responsibility. Why? Why do we fear truth? Why do we put blame on someone else? We still do this today. We blame the other political party. We blame the rich…or the poor. We blame circumstances. But what might happen if we took the blame? We’re so afraid of judgment. But could there be grace? Maybe God is eager to show us grace if only we’d quit pointing fingers.
Pray: Loving Lord, I so quickly forget your love and instead fear your judgment. I blame instead of confess. Help me trust you.
 
Saturday – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
“Because God does, I can!” Its hard to imagine consistently loving my enemies. Judgement so quickly creeps back into my heart. But God has made me new. I’m not trapped in that old way of living. God showed me love and brought reconciliation. Now that I am new, I can bring that same love to others.
Pray: LORD of Heaven and Earth, you are God, my God, maker of Heaven and Earth. I will trust you and be your ambassador of love and reconciliation through Jesus for the world!