Some of my earliest memories are of our home being filled with people…family, friends, those in need…my parents are the most relational people I have ever met. We were always taught the value of people, of our connection to them. We watched my mom and dad nurture and serve and love. My family was built on the legacy of relationship.
But times have changed. Or so it seems. Our culture today is fast-paced and full. Full schedules and full Facebook feeds often keep us from truly connecting with the people in our lives. Our motivation is often what can that person do for me, even if we don’t realize it.
But the Bible is full of examples of beautiful relationships that were built on love and loyalty, not ambition and convenience. I want to overcome the current state of our culture and return back to the root of relationships I was taught as a child. I want for my kids what I experienced years ago – hours of carefree fellowship and connection based on the common ground of faith.
We can teach our children the value of relationships by looking to the Word for stories and truths that encourage authentic heart connection.
3 Bible Stories That Teach Kids About Relationships
1. Friendship with Jesus
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:12-15
Jesus calls us his friend and He wants to be in relationship with us. Throughout the Gospels we see the friendship of Jesus and his disciples develop. Although their intent was to serve and follow Jesus as Master, He calls them friends and even hints at His coming death to show just how deep His love for them will go. Jesus’ love and sacrifice for those He walked with is the ultimate example of relationship. Though we may not physically lay down our lives for our friends, we can sacrifice for others just as He sacrificed for us.
Use this example to share with your children that Jesus calls us friend and He wants to live in relationship with us. This means that He wants us to get to know Him and He wants us to share our lives with Him – every joy, every care, every hurt, every triumph. As we grow in relationship with Jesus, we will better understand how to grow in relationship with others and love them the way He loves us.
Related verse: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12
2. Ruth and Naomi
“Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. And she said, ‘See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.’ But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.’ And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.” Ruth 1:14-18 ESV
Loyalty and commitment make relationships lasting and fruitful. After her husband died, Ruth could have easily left her mother-in-law to start a new life and find a new family. But Ruth chose to be loyal to her husband’s family, even without him. The Bible says Ruth “clung” to Naomi. In loyalty and trust, Ruth followed Naomi and committed to stay with her, no matter what.
Use this story to teach your child about loyalty and commitment. To be loyal means to be faithful; to stay with someone or something. In today’s culture where we are encouraged to constantly be looking for the next best thing, it’s easy to forget the value of loyalty and commitment, especially in relationships. But God teaches the importance of remaining true to those we love over and over again in the Bible – first to Himself and then to people in our lives. Our family and friends are put in our lives by God as we follow Him. When we remain committed to those He blesses us with…first and foremost, our parents…we will see His plans fulfilled in our lives and in the lives of others.
Related verse: “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.'” Ephesians 6:1-3
3. David and Jonathan
“As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.” 1 Samuel 18:1-5
God uses our friendships to make us stronger. Sometimes God blesses us with a family member or friend who is super special. This may be a parent or a sibling or a best friend. Our hearts feel tied so closely to this person. We look up to them, want to be like them and live to bless them. This is how it was with David and Jonathan in the Bible. Jonathan was King Saul’s son. Even though a son would normally be in line to become king, Jonathan knew David was chosen by God to be king after Saul. Jonathan could have been jealous of David. But he trusted God and loved David. The Bible shows their deep friendship that grew in the midst of a difficult time of war and transition.
Use this story to share with your child that God will use our relationships with special people to make us stronger. Just like God used Jonathan to love David and support him through battle and becoming king, God can use others in our lives to love us, support us and help us grow. God can also use us in this way in the lives of our friends and family members. Just like two pieces of iron rubbed together will make both pieces sharper, two people who come together in love and relationship will become stronger.
Related verse: “Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
What verses or stories are you using to teach your kids about relationships?
Originally published in June of 2016.
Jessica Wolstenholm is co-founder of Grace for Moms. After 15 years in the music and publishing industries, Jessica came home to be with her two small children. Although the transition from the corporate world to the playground has been an adjustment, she is learning every day to access the grace available to us through Christ as she navigates the full time job of motherhood. She is the co-author of The Pregnancy Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide for Your Journey to Motherhood and The Baby Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide for Your Journey Through Baby’s First Year. Jessica lives in Nolensville, TN with her husband, Dave and two miracle babies, Hope and Joshua.