Character Building for Families Sample Lessons




  1. Introduction
    1. "Today we'll be starting a new character study -- DEFERENCE."
    2. DEFINITION: showing respect and esteem to another person; honor. Antonym (opposite) would be disrespect, or possibly, bossiness.
    3. "When we show deference to someone, we submit ourselves to that person's wishes, desires, or opinions."
    4. "When we defer to another's wishes, we make that person feel honored. It helps keep peace. When we defer (show deference) to others, we are being gracious. When we have friends over to our house as guests, we try to be gracious to them by letting them choose what to play -- at least part of the time -- and by offering them first chance to take a cookie or other snack. What we are really doing is showing deference."
  2. Discussion
    1. "See if you can give me some examples of how to be gracious, or show deference."
    2. "Even if others don't show deference to us in return, we still need to act in this way."
    3. "When would be a time to not show deference?" ("We mustn't give in to, or go along with, something which we know to be wrong, or sense in our spirits isn't right.")
  3. Pray for help in being deferent -- not bossy.


  1. Review all of Day 1 material, especialy deference definition.
  2. Read Romans 12:10.
    1. "What does this verse have to do with deference?"
    2. "We are to show affection to others as brothers and sisters in Christ, but the part that particularly speaks about deference is, 'in honor preferring one another.' What does it mean to prefer one another in honor?" (to put someone else's needs, desires, or comforts ahead of our own)
  3. Read Philippians 2:3,4.
    1. "Strife is fighting and arguing. Vainglory is glorifying ourselves, or bragging about ourselves. To be lowly in mind means to not think of ourselves more highly than we should. It is being humble, or modest. Esteem means love, hold precious, hold in honor."
    2. "Could you restate verse 3 in your own words?"
    3. "Is verse 4 talking about looking with our eyes at others' possessions instead of our own possessions?" (no) "It means we are not to think only of ourselves, but we are to consider and take care of the needs of others."
    4. "Tell me the phrases in these two verses that refer to deference." ('Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory,' 'Let each esteem other better than themselves,' all of v. 4)
  4. Memorize Romans 12:10 and Philippians 2:3,4.
  5. Pray for grace to honor others -- to think of their needs first and not be bossy.


  1. Review definition of deference.
  2. Memorize Romans 12:10 and Philippians 2:3,4. (Review the meanings of these verses, especially any hard words.)
  3. Read Romans 15:1-7.
    1. V. 1 -- "We are to help those weaker than ourselves, bear with those who are not as spiritually mature as we may be, and not please ourselves (care for their needs first, put their comforts above our own)."
    2. V. 2 -- "We do this with the purpose of building up the other person--helping him to grow in Christ, or perhaps so that he will want to know Christ. Edification means building up."
    3. V. 3 -- "Jesus is our example of deference. He did not please Himself. Instead, He pleased His Father first. And we can see in the gospels that He frequently also put other people before His own needs."
    4. V. 5 -- "As God is patient and consoling (comforting), and as He has given us this example in Jesus, He wants us to be likeminded (thinking the same as He does) and treat others with patience and comfort."
    5. V. 6 -- "If we are of the same mind as God, and are all together wishing to be as He is, this will bring unity to the Body of Christ and glorify God. By being deferent, you will be doing your part toward unity."
    6. V. 7 -- "In what condition were we, when Christ received us?" (We were sinners, needing to be cleansed.) "How did Jesus receive us?" (He welcomed us and loved us unconditionally.) "This is how we are to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ; we are to accept them with all their faults, and love them unconditionally." (You may need to explain what doing something unconditionally means.)
  4. Discussion
    1. "Tell me what you have learned so far about deference."
    2. "How do you plan to apply this to your life?"
    3. "Are you being deferent toward your parents?"
    4. "Are you trying to be deferent in your dealings with other children?"
    5. Parents should share any experiences they have had with being deferent, not being deferent, or experiences of others being/not being deferent toward them.
  5. Pray for God's grace to honor others and defer to their wishes.

© 1994, 2004, 2012 by Lee Ann Rubsam. All rights reserved. Non-commercial users may copy and use these sample lessons with their families. All commercial use is prohibited.



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