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Loving my neighbour: Compassion for others less privileged

Expressing our faith in and our love for God by loving others, in particular those who are less privileged


Jesus said that the two greatest commandments, from which all the others came, were to love God with all our being and to love others as we loved ourselves. To be a disciple of Jesus is to love others as an expression of our love for God. We cannot claim to love God if we do not love others. Loving others has a range of dimensions that correspond to our relationships. The Old Testament focuses very much on the home and larger social issues like the mistreatment of the poor and so on. The New Testament focuses more on our personal relationships. God wants us to express love to our neighbours in all these dimensions, from how we treat our parents, through to how we treat refugees, through to the question of war.

Key Concepts

  • What is God like? God is love
  • How did God show his love for us? Jesus is our perfect example of love, he gave his life for us
  • What does God require from us? To love him means to love others, the two are inseparable
  • The old commandment was to love others as we love ourselves, but the new commandment is to love each other as Jesus loved us
  • What does love look like? In our classroom? In our home? In our community? In our country?
  • Who is my neighbour? What does it look like in the local and global community?

Scripture references

Leviticus 19:34 – loving the stranger among you

Isaiah 58:6-7 – what does God really want from us?

Micah 6:8 – what is God really after?

Matthew 5:43-48 – love your enemies

Matthew 22:34-40 – the greatest commandment

Matthew 25:31-46 – the sheep and the goats on the final day

Luke 10:25-37 – the good Samaritan

Luke 15 – lost sheep, lost coin, prodigal son

John 13: 1-20 – Jesus washes the disciples feet

John 13:31-35 – a new commandment, to love each other as Jesus loved us, by this all we will know we are his disciples

John 15:12-17 – love as Christ as loved us

Romans 12:9-21 – overcome evil with good, serve one another in love

1 Corinthians 13 – love is…

Galatians 5:6, 13-25 – Love fulfills the law, which is done by walking in the Spirit

Ephesians 4:25-5:2 – practical examples of how we are to love each other and the call to imitate God


NGO's inspired by the love of Christ websites, for example:

World Vision


Red Cross


Salvation Army

St Vincent De Paul


http://www.fta.org.au/school-resources.html - Fair Trade Australia

Web Clips: Great resource for short clips from popular movies on a very large number of Biblical themes


Ideas/strategies for lessons

Good Samaritan Story (Luke 10)

Lego Good Samaritan 

Jesus washes the disciples feet (John 13) Discuss what it means to ‘serve one another’. Teacher could wash a child’s feet and honour them in front of the class. Explore how Jesus humbled himself and did such lowly work.

Micah 6:8 – How could you make this come true?

Role play based in Micah 6:8 in which some students act out the role of the various needy groups, while others act out various ways of ignoring or rejecting them, with each unaware of the role the others have been given, perhaps include a some who act as Jesus would

Random acts of kindness: What could you do for your Dad? Mum? Family member? Friend? Neighbour? Classmate? Report to class (if you wish) what you did and what happened?

Provide or create World hunger map -  Try looking at ifpri.org under publications

Give students unequal amounts of jellybeans (or chocolate or other items) and discuss the fairness of the way it is shared. Discuss how this is a reflection of how the world’s resources are divided. How can we make a difference?

Discuss: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for life.”   

Relevant News items

Identify how foreigners (refugees) would feel coming to Australia – how can you communicate with these people? Have a session where students aren’t allowed to speak and they must work out other ways to communicate. Discuss how the students felt and encourage them to empathise with foreigners and refugees who are unable to communicate.

Making room for others, how can we be more inclusive?  Explore feelings of being excluded – everyone possibly has their own story. Discuss how they felt when they were excluded, and what others could have done.

Harmony Day – involve community by having a shared lunch where they can try multicultural food.  Discuss what other cultures have brought into our country.

40 hour (8 hour) famine – adapt this to suit the class e.g. go without technology, or furniture

Raise funds for a cause

Shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child

Inquiry learning by students studying the life of Christians who made a difference because they were motivated by the love of Jesus. Note that the love of Jesus means more than helping the poor etc directly. Possible people include: 

  • William Wilberforce; Florence Nightingale; Mother Teresa; John Flynn; Princess Dianna – may not have been a Christian, this is uncertain and so the way in which the Gospel influences even non-Christians can be discussed; William and Catherine Booth; Martin Luther King Jr; Harriet Tubman; Elizabeth Fry; Dietrich Bonhoeffer; William Tyndale; Francis Bacon; Galileo Galilei; Hudson Taylor; Francis of Assisi