Some people love it. Some people hate it. Movies are made about it. People spend money on it. Some spend it alone, while others enjoy it with someone special. We’re talking about Valentine’s Day, of course! February 14th rolls around every year. Special dates are planned. Roses and chocolates fly off store shelves, and the talk of love is in the air. While culturally we might think mostly about romantic love, Agape, or Godly love, is the most important kind we can focus on, not only in February but always. God is love and shows us how to love others well, so what better source than the Bible to find love lessons? Here are seven children’s lessons that are suited for Valentine’s Day.
1. David and Jonathan
The first Bible story is from 1 Samuel. David becomes friends with King Saul’s son, Jonathan. Their friendship was so close-knit that they would do anything for one another. Even in dangerous situations, they looked out for each other and kept each other safe. Jonathan saved David from his angry father, and in return, David later took care of Jonathan’s crippled son. 1 Samuel 18:1 says, “…Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.”
We love ourselves a lot. Loving someone else just as much is a pretty big deal. The story of these two best friends can have a big impact on kids and how they treat each other. Have kids think about their own friendships. Are they behaving like David and Jonathan? Are they putting others before themselves? These are good questions that can help students be better friends.
2. Ruth and Naomi
Having loving friendships is important. Most of the time, you get to pick your friends, but you don’t get to pick your family. The story of Ruth and Naomi is another great one to share. As the saying goes, “Blood is thicker than water.” Ruth took this to heart when she chose to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi. Even though she was released to go back to her own country, Ruth was faithful to her new family. Ruth 1:16 says, “…Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
Now that’s commitment. Teaching kids about this relationship can help them to see the importance of their own family bonds. Even though they may be getting to the stage of being annoyed by their siblings or arguing with their parents, Ruth’s example shows that it’s key to keep good relationships with your family members. It’s what God desires for us.
3. Mary and Joseph
Mary and Joseph’s love story was complicated. Although it’s about love for friends or family, kids should know about this kind of Biblical marriage love as well. This young couple had a hard start. They had problems and confusion, but both Mary and Joseph trusted and believed in God’s plans that the angels had shared with them.
Matthew 1:18-25 tells the story, and we can guess that some of the left-out details included stares, whispers, and hard conversations. They stuck it out, reaping the benefit of being the earthly parents to Jesus. Kids in your ministry may or may not have a healthy marriage relationship to look to in their home. The family unit has changed greatly over the past centuries from what God intended it to be. Taking a look at Biblical marriages, like the one Mary and Joseph had, and looking at their story from the perspective of perseverance through unlikely circumstances, can show kids what parents who put God first look like.
4. John 3:16
One of the most quoted verses in the Bible is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This single verse projects what love looks like. It shows that God loved the world – that means all of us! – so much that he gave up the most valuable part of him. We cannot imagine sacrificing one of our children, but that’s exactly what God did.
As kids develop their relationship with God, John 3:16 gives them a deeper understanding. Digging into this passage can help them know God’s love for them better, as well as help them understand the reward of choosing his love.
5. The Good Samaritan
Jesus once told a story about an injured man on a dangerous road. Although people passed by him, no one stopped to help except the most unlikely person. A Samaritan would have been an enemy to the hurt man. This illustration is all about who our neighbor is. Jesus was asked the question, “Who is my neighbor?” And the answer is really anyone we come into contact with. It doesn’t matter if they are a family member, a best friend, or someone we’ve never met. The Bible says we are to treat them well.
Luke 10:25-37 tells the whole recollection. Kids can learn to think outside their close circles. It’s easy to be nice to your friends on the playground or to your siblings because you know them. Thinking outside of what they know and is comfortable to them can help kids get to a new level of showing love for others.
6. Love God and Love Others
Jesus once answered the question, “What is the greatest commandment?” in two simple ways. Matthew 22:37-40 says this, “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
As a Christian, these two things are our job. Love God and love others. Our lives should model this. We love God by praising, trusting, and obeying Him. We love others by treating them as we would ourselves. These verses explain who and how we are to love making them a great Valentine’s Day lesson.
7. Love Is…
There’s no greater definition of love than what’s stated in 1 Corinthians 13. You know the passage. It’s often quoted at weddings but applies to way more than marriages. It applies to any relationship we have. Love is patient. Love is kind. The chapter goes on to list several things that love is and isn’t.
What a great passage to read with kids. Have them plug their name every time they read the word love. You can have a great discussion about how they are loving others well, and areas that need improvement.
Valentine’s Day is a time we reflect on love. The best place to teach kids about love is not from a movie or romance novel. It’s from the Word of God. In His story, there are examples of love between husbands and wives, between best friends, between family members, and even between strangers. With these lesson ideas, you can give children a glimpse into what kind of love God expects from us as you celebrate this holiday.