Middle School

Real Respect

Lesson 13 

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Fall 2019

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By: Jill Meek 

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November 24, 2019

Lesson Focus:

Be respectful in relationships

Bible Basis:

Ruth 1:1-5, 16, 22; 2:1-3; 3:6, 10-11, 13; 4:13-14

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access

Summary & Links:

Students will watch an example of respect between two rivals as they consider showing respect in all relationships.

Memory Verse:

Show proper respect to everyone.
—1 Peter 2:17a

Step 1:

Students will watch an example of respect between two rivals as they consider showing respect in all relationships.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access

To some degree, each of us desires to feel respected as an individual and supported on life’s journey. We hope we can count on our family and friends for this, yet sometimes those closest to us let us down in this way. On the flip side, sometimes the respect or support we receive comes from the most unexpected places. That’s what happened this earlier this year at the U.S. Open when a champion showed real respect to her competitor.

Play this video for your students [2:19]:
Coco Gauff, Naomi Osaka share encouraging words after heated US Open match

  • How would you characterize the exchange between these two women? (Accept all reasonable answers. This exchange was emotional, supportive, respectful, and real among other things.)
  • What might have prevented the exchange from being so supportive and respectful? (Accept all reasonable answers. These two were competitors and the competition could have gotten the best of them; the crowd seemed to be behind one of them more than the other; Osaka could have done the usual thing and taken the interview on her own, not harming but not helping Gauff.)
  • How does this relationship compare to other relationships we see portrayed in our world? (Accept all reasonable answers. Positive relationships—real or fictional— are sometimes shown and celebrated in the media. Sadly, there are plenty of examples of abuse, deception, greed, jealously, vengeance, and bad sportsmanship shaping our collective memories about what relationships are like. This story became news because it was not the usual thing done; it was a graciousness that went above and beyond.)

The Bible tells us stories of people as human and complex as us. They sometimes demonstrate good examples, sometimes bad, sometimes the messy in between. The Bible gives plenty of examples of relationships—good and bad, real and complex. Today we will see how the supportive and respectful relationship between two women experiencing loss and difficult circumstances results in a better life for their family as God works behind the scenes to bring about restoration.

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • None

In modern times there are multiple narratives about women and how they treat one another in relationships. One stereotype about women is that they compete against each other, gossip about each other, and tear each other down. Another description about women highlights their massive support for one another, standing together and showing up for each other in good times and bad, through hospitality, encouragement, and in other ways.

  • Can you share a story of a time you saw either the positive or negative example displayed? (Be sure your students know that even though the lesson was about two women, examples of male relationships are welcome, too. Students may have experienced the negative examples personally with their own friend groups, or perhaps they’ve seen those examples dramatized on screen. Similarly, they may have witnessed a positive example personally, or by watching the examples of the adults in their life, seeing stories in the news, or in tales either historical or fictional.)
  • Where else do you get positive or negative examples of how to behave in relationships? (Answers will vary. Examples can be found in the home, on screen, and everywhere in between. Some examples will be clearly positive or negative, but students may also identify gray areas, as they work out what respect really looks like and recognize that people are flawed.)
  • How could you show more respect in your relationships? (Answers will vary. In general, being present, expressing gratitude, offering assistance, and asking questions when with their family, friends, and teachers are all ways to show respect. Students may also see opportunities to show respect in the form of solidarity with their peers if they know of someone who is bullied or ostracized.)

For Ruth, in part, this looked like being willing to be led, taught, and mentored by Naomi. Perhaps you could make it a personal goal as this new year approaches to be led, taught, or mentored by someone, to grow not only in respect, but in wisdom. Here are two ways you might do this:

You could do this through finding a mentor. Mentorship is part of a Christian tradition, a way of passing down the faith and modeling a life of faith. Is there someone a bit ahead of you that you admire or would like to learn from such as a family member or family friend or a youth leader? Ask this person about getting together occasionally to talk about life and faith. Or encourage your youth leaders to start up a program for this purpose.

You could do this by intentionally seeking out perspectives that are different from yours in the media you consume. Let the next book you read or YouTube video you watch come from someone you could learn from because your experiences are different. Jesus’ friends were varied and the Christian faith includes people of many backgrounds and walks of life. Hear their stories as you live yours and see how God might be at work in ways unexpected.

Above all, pray for your relationships. This week be intentional about asking the Lord to show you how to be more respectful in all of your relationships.

Close in prayer.

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