This section provides Bible stories with the theme of harmony, along with questions you can use as a guide for family discussions. Choose one story that is appropriate for your children. Before reading aloud, take a few minutes to review the story. If the Bible passage is too complex for your children, paraphrase the story yourself or use the summary provided under “key concepts.”
Read Genesis 37:1-11 and Galatians 5:19-25.
Jacob, the father, favoured his youngest son, Joseph. This made the other sons jealous. Then, Joseph had a dream and told his brothers about it. He said he dreamed that while they were binding sheaves of wheat in the field, their sheaves bowed down to his sheaf. He had another dream where he dreamed the sun and moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. These dreams made his brothers even more jealous.
It is not right for parents to favour one child over another. Nor is it right for one child to brag about things to the other children to try and make them jealous. Jealousy of any kind only serves to cause discord in families. Jealousy is sin and the only way to get rid of sin is to pray and ask for God’s forgiveness. We also need to ask for His Holy Spirit to fill us with love and peace instead.
Read Genesis 37:12-36 and 1 John 4:7-12.
Joseph’s brothers were so jealous of him that they decided to kill him. One brother, Rueben convinced them to throw him in a dried-out well instead. Before Rueben could rescue Joseph the other brothers sold him to some merchants who then sold Joseph as a slave. Jealousy can even grow into hatred. Jealousy and hatred are sins that can lead to more sin. God is more powerful than any sin and He can give us His power and strength to overcome sin (1 Corinthians 15:56-57, 1 John 4:4). God is love and having God’s love in us enables us love each other (1 John 3:7-12).
Read Genesis 50:15-21, 1 Peter 3:8-12 and Colossians 3:12-15.
Though there were many challenging years for Joseph in Egypt, God used his situation to rescue and reunite Joseph’s entire family (Genesis 42-47). Joseph had been blessed by God and was in a position of such power that he could have destroyed his brothers and their families if he had chosen to. After their father died, his brothers became afraid that Joseph might repay the evil they had done to him (Genesis 50:15-17). Instead of doing God’s job and punishing his brothers, Joseph gave God glory for taking the bad situation and turning it into good for all of them. He forgave and comforted his brothers (Genesis 50:19-21). Using God’s love, we can follow Joseph’s example of forgiving others, even when they don’t deserve to be forgiven.
Read Psalm 37:1-11.
David’s advice for those who see others getting away with evil is to wait patiently before God. He advises that getting angry and fretting only leads to more evil. When you are upset because it seems as though someone is doing wrong, talk with God or ask a parent to help you talk with God about the problem.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 11,14.
God wants families to live at peace with each other. This can only happen if we ask God’s love and peace to live with us. We will experience more peace in our homes and relationships if we are patient instead of impatient, kind instead of mean, content instead of envious, humble instead of boastful or proud, polite instead of rude, generous instead of selfish, and calm/tolerant/self-controlled instead of easily angered.
Read 1 John 4:7,10-12, 19-20.
God is love, and love comes from God. God asks us to love others as He loves us. Showing love to others shows them God’s love for them. When we have a hard time loving someone, God can share His love for that person with us.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. When He was born, the angels sang “Peace on earth.” Because we have sinned, we are separated from God and deserve to die for our sins. But Jesus died, taking the punishment for our sins, so we can have peace with God. If we ask God to forgive our sins and believe in his Son, Jesus, God forgives our sins and considers us to be one of His sons or daughters. We then follow God by asking Him to be the leader of our lives and allowing Him to put His Spirit in our hearts to make our thoughts and actions like Jesus’.
Read Mark 10:35-45.
Just as James and John both wanted to have the place of honour, children often push and shove to be first in line or have the preferred seat. James and John requested honour for themselves, which stirred up discord among the disciples. Jesus’ reply was that he who wants to be the greatest must be the servant of all. A “putting others first” approach encourages peace, whereas a “get ahead for myself” attitude causes conflict. When we choose to honour others by putting their needs ahead of our own, it is pleasing to God.