One of the most familiar Bible passages about love is found 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. This month’s activity is designed to get your family noticing examples of that kind of love in how you treat and respond to each other.
When your family is together, bring out an empty jar (or other container) and explain that for the next week or so, this is going to be the “love jar.”
Hand out to each member of your family a piece of paper with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 printed out on it and then have someone read it out loud to the family. Here it is in the NIV:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Explain that this is the way God loves us as His children and it’s the way He’s told us to love each other.
Describe the following in your own words:
For the next week, we’re going to watch each other closely and look for examples of the descriptions of love in this passage. For instance, we want to “catch” each other being patient or kind or not “easily angered.”
When you see someone doing something loving from the passage, take a second to jot down on a note what you saw that person do, then sign the note and put it in the jar. (Plan to keep a stack of blank notes next to the jar.)
“Jake did something cool, but he didn’t boast about it.”
“Emily shared her chips and was kind to me.”
“Dad was patient when I wasn’t ready when he came to pick me up.”
“Mom was protecting me when she made me wear my coat (even though I didn’t want to).”
Then once a day (or at the end of the week), we’ll empty the jar and read about the different ways we caught each other being loving. For this to work, everyone needs to participate by putting in at least one note about someone (or each person) in the family every day.
You’ll probably need to review the verses ever day to remind yourself of what kinds of loving choices to look for.
Note: Be ready to provide some examples you have noticed from various members of your family recently. If you think they will need the incentive, consider offering some kind of appropriate reward for contributing a minimum number of notes to the jar—or an incremental prized based on the number of notes submitted. You will need a definite end date for this activity to keep everyone motivated to participate.
Also, make it clear nobody is to put a note in about themselves—and everyone should add at least one note about each member of the family at some point. As the parent(s), you might need to goose the jar by writing extra notes.
Finally, plan to empty the jar daily or at the end of the week and talk about the different acts of love you caught each other doing. Also be ready to talk about how this made you all more aware of choosing to be loving yourself in ways you don’t normally think about. Ask if anyone was surprised that someone thought what they were doing was a love choice.
As always, if you tackle this activity, let us know how it goes!