The collection of verses about behavior below can be used with your children when their hearts are soft following a misbehavior. But remember: God’s Word should be used to heal, not punish. It is an ointment not a weapon. These words are intended to disciple your children at a time of peace – not during a time of correction or conflict.
These verses work very well when used in conjunction with our method for more effective time outs and our Heart of the Matter Parenting Cards. These verses can also be used in every-day conversations, while reading stories together, or during family devotion times.
All of these verses in this printable are taken from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible – a translation that is well-suited for children of any age. They have been updated to include “scripts” you can use with your children to jump-start a discussion about them. Adjust the wording to fit the age of your child.
God has shown us how kind he is by coming to save all people. He taught us to give up our wicked ways and our worldly desires and to live decent and honest lives in this world.Titus 2:11-12
Say: God showed His kindness to us through the life of Jesus. Not only did Jesus come to save, He came to be an example for us to follow. That is not to say that we won’t make mistakes or that we have to be perfect, but Jesus’ life gives us a picture of what is important to God – like being kind and helpful to others.
God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways.Galatians 5:22-23
Say: As a friend of Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. It can be very hard to choose to do right! But we don’t have to do it in our own strength. We have the power of the goodness of Jesus inside of us. All we need to do is ask Him for help.
Losing self-control leaves you as helpless as a city without a wall.Proverbs 25:28
Say: When we can’t control our words or our bodies, we can hurt other people and our friendship with them. It may feel good in the moment to vent our feelings, but it never feels good afterwards. If you are feeling like you are losing control, you can get it back by deep breathing, squeezing something, running in place, or asking someone for help.
You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted. But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and he will show you how to escape from your temptations.1 Corinthians 10:13
Say: God never causes us to sin – we choose to. In fact, He always gives us a way out. That is what this verse is saying. So, if you are tempted to do something wrong – pause for a moment and think: What options has God given me so I don’t go through with it? Look around – a way out will be there!
I am the LORD your God, and you must obey my teachings.Leviticus 18:4
Say: God is loving and and gracious. He forgives us over and over again – no matter how many times we do wrong. But that doesn’t mean we keep doing wrong. We can show God that we love Him by obeying Him.
But you also said that no matter how far away we were, we could turn to you and start obeying your laws. Then you would bring us back to the place where you have chosen to be worshiped.Nehemiah 1:9
Say: God is so big and so near that no matter what we do wrong, no matter how long we may have forgotten about Him, He will always forgive us and never leave us. All we have to do is tell Him we are sorry.
Jesus replied: If anyone loves me, they will obey me. Then my Father will love them, and we will come to them and live in them.John 14:23
Say: Isn’t it amazing that God lives inside of us? We get to be friends with GOD – the maker of heaven and earth.
Stop all your dirty talk. Say the right thing at the right time and help others by what you say.Ephesians 4:29
Say: This verse reminds us of how important words are. Words can hurt so we need to be careful how we use them. God wants us to use our words to help people.
All of us do many wrong things. But if you can control your tongue, you are mature and able to control your whole body.James 3:2
Say: It can be really hard to stop ourselves from saying things that hurt other people. But it’s even harder to not think them! We need remember to ask God to clean up our hearts so that what comes out of our mouths will be helpful and kind. Once our hearts are clean, clean words and actions follow.
A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up.Proverbs 15:1
Say: When God sent Jesus to die for us, it was to make peace with us. Without Jesus’ sacrifice we would not be able to be friends with God. God is a peacemaker. He wants us to be peacemakers too.
Treatment of others
Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves.Philippians 2:3
Say: Sometimes we want to be first or best and can focus on wanting things we don’t have. But God thinks it is better to want others to be first or best instead. That doesn’t mean that we can’t be pleased when we do something well or if we are good at something. He just wants us to think about others first.
Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don’t yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ.Ephesians 4:31-32
Say: It can be really hard to forgive someone when they have done something wrong or hurt us in some way. But when we think of the mountain of things that God has forgiven us for, it’s easier to forgive the little pile of wrongs done against us.