Bible Reading of the Day: Read Matthew 22:34-40.

Verse of the Day: “God is love” (1 John 4:8).

“Your little brother’s going to come?” Rachel said in a shocked tone.

“Yeah,” Nicki said with a shrug. “Why not?”

“Well, we’re going to ditch him once we get to the mall, aren’t we?”

“No, we’re not going to ditch him,” Nicki answered. “He’s my brother!”

Rachel stared at Nicki as if her friend had just sprouted a second head.

“Get in the car,” Nicki said. “I’ve got to pick him up at home, then we can get going to the mall.”

As Nicki drove, Rachel talked. “Why would you want your little brother to come with us?”

“Because he’s my brother. And he’s fun to be around.”

Rachel’s face still registered shock. “I hate my brother and he hates me,” she said. “You should love each other.” Nicki protested. “There’s something wrong with you,” Rachel said.

“No,” Nicki argued, her tone still friendly, “I’m OK. I’m just worried about you, girl! You know it’s wrong to hate your brother, Rachel.”

“Why?” Rachel’s tone was defiant. She crossed her arms on her chest.

“Well,” Nicki said, hesitating only a moment. “Because the Bible says we should love each other. Jesus said we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves.”

“Joey’s not my neighbor!”

“Sure he is,” Nicki said. “He lives in the bedroom right next to yours!” She pulled the car into the driveway of her house and honked.

“So I should love Joey just because the Bible says so.”

“Well, yeah,” Nicki said. “But also because when you love, you’re being like God. The Bible says, ‘God is love.’ See, Rachel, the fact that God commands us to love each other shows us that God values love. And he values love because he is a loving God. Love is right because God is love.”

Nicki’s brother, crawled into the back seat and closed the door behind him.

“Hi, Nicki. Hi, Rachel,” he said. “You sure you don’t mind me going to the mall with you?”

“We’re sure,” Nicki answered. She smiled at Rachel. “Aren’t we?” Rachel stared straight ahead without acknowledging Nicki’s question, but she couldn’t completely suppress the smile that crept across her lips.

TO DISCUSS: Take turns completing one of the following statements: “I show love for God when I___________.” “I show love for my neighbor when I___________.”  “I show love for my family when I___________.” Discuss your reasons for completing the sentences the way that you did.

TO PRAY: “God, please love others through me.”