Devotionals by Dr. James Dobson

An Apple a Day

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
Luke 6:27

Carole, as class monitor, was forced to report that one of her seventh-grade classmates had been acting up during their teacher’s absence. Joyce, an explosive brunet, threatened to clobber Carole at afternoon recess. Scared and miserable, Carole fled home for lunch and poured out her tale of woe to her mother. “Carole, take her an apple,” said her mother calmly. “Take her an apple!” wailed Carole. “What good will that do? She’s ready to pull out my hair!” “I know,” said her mother. “But the Bible says to do good to those who are spiteful to you. It also says that a soft answer turns away wrath. Try it!”

After lunch, Carole reluctantly placed a shiny red apple on Joyce’s desk and mumbled, “I’m sorry you are so angry.” Joyce was speechless. Finally she stammered, “Well…well…I guess I deserved it.” The situation was defused, and Carole and Joyce eventually became friends.

It can be difficult for children (as well as their parents!) to wholeheartedly embrace Jesus’ instruction to “do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27–28). They feel that their adversaries deserve a different response. But Christ is unequivocal in His direction. We are to follow the Lord’s example, who offers us love that we don’t deserve: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).

Before you say good night…

  • Do you pray for your “enemies” in the presence of your children?
  • What would happen if your family tried a “soft answer” in the face of wrath?

Almighty God, Your ways are the best ways for the living of our days. Help us to teach our children about Your mercy and to model it ourselves. May we respond to others with love and compassion, just as You do toward us. Amen.

Illustration adapted from “Do What?” by Carole Mayhall. © 1997.

Listen to today's broadcast of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk at  For more from Dr. Dobson, visit the resource center at

This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.

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About Family Talk Videos

Packed with the same wisdom Dr. Dobson has provided audiences for more than 30 years, Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk is designed to help families and influence the culture — all flowing out of a heart for spiritual transformation thru trust in Christ for every life. It's the voice you trust...for the family you love!

About Dr. James Dobson

James Dobson is the host of Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk. He is also the founder of Focus on the Family, where he served for more than 30 years.

A licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child counselor, he was an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California for 14 years. He invested 17 years on the attending staff of Children's Hospital Los Angeles in the Division of Child Development and Medical Genetics.

Earning a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, he's authored more than 30 books, including his most recent bestseller, Bringing Up Girls. Dr. Dobson has also been heavily involved in governmental activities related to the family. He was elected in 2008 to the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley, the father of two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and the grandfather of Lincoln.

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