Main Point of Discussion:
All people are worthy of respect because of the infinite value God places on each one of us.
Gather your family members for a quick game that gets them primed for the topic at hand. Say, Okay, all of us in this big circle need to quickly think of what your favorite TV show is, why you like it, and when the last time you saw it was. Now...on the count of three, everyone look into the center of our circle or across at another family member and start talking—and don’t stop no matter how loudly other family members are talking or how little you can make sense of what’s being said by the rest of the family. Okay…1, 2, 3…go!
(It should be very frustrating for your whole family because there is no control over what’s being said, and no one can hear a thing!)
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
Q: What did you notice about this exercise?
A: Everybody was talking at the same time, so nobody could be heard, and nobody could hear.
Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this exercise?
A: We should notice that everybody deserves to be heard—and everybody deserves a chance to hear others. It’s called respect—mutual respect. And that’s the least that Christians can do when dealing with other people…the very bare minimum!
Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this exercise to actually living out those opinions?
A: First of all, we need to show respect to others, no matter how much we believe they deserve it or not. God values people; we should value people, too. Second, we need to be especially sensitive to those we see being disrespected—picked on, abused, teased, bullied. We need to stand beside those people, as Jesus would, and be their friend. We need to stand up for them as we’re able as well. That’s what Jesus would do—we cannot do any less.
Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, keep engaging them.
For Deeper Discussion: (If your kids seem into diving in deeper, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)
CLICK HERE if you want to look at a quick training article on small groups and drawing questions out of young people—you may find much of the information applicable as you go through this subject with your family members.
Above all, don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide,
primarily—not necessarily a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.
More Discussion Questions:
The following exercise is in an Agree/Disagree format. Divide the room in half; declare one side of the room the “Agree” side and the other side of the room the “Disagree” side. Read the following statements one at a time and have your family members walk to the appropriate sides, according to their individual opinions. Then use the follow-up questions provided to get responses on why they agreed or disagreed. After you’re finished with the first statement and you’ve received all your necessary responses, move on to the second statement, etc.
Having others’ respect is so important for Christians! If we claim to be different than everybody else, we need others’ respect before we even begin to care about any other inner quality—because without others’ respect, our words and actions are totally useless. So go out there and examine your relationships, measure how you’re treating others, and make a change today if you need to.
Close in Prayer
Statement #1: All people are worthy of respect. (Follow-up questions for later: Who is worthy of respect? What makes you respect someone?)
Statement #2: Once someone loses another’s respect, that person can never get it back. (Follow-up question for later: Why is respect important?)
Statement #3: If a person doesn't respect himself/herself, you can't respect that person. (Follow-up question for later: How do you know if a person respects himself/herself?)
Statement #4: Respect has to be earned. (Follow-up question for later: How does a person go about earning it?)
Statement #5: There are different kinds of respect. (Follow-up question for later: What kinds of respect are there?)
Statement #6: Respect is a two-way street. (Follow-up questions for later: What causes someone to disrespect another person? Can a person feel disrespected without being disrespected?)
Statement #7: If you respect someone, it shows in the way you treat that person. (Follow-up question for later: How does one show respect toward friends, family, others?)