Community Building: Forgiveness
Saying the memory verse together at suppertime will imprint it on the hearts of your children forever.
Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive each other, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done.
Do you have a list that you keep—a list of people who have wronged you, or misunderstood you, or failed you in some way? Is that list long or short? How old are the items on that list? How does that list affect your relationship with God? With others? This list can keep you from making new friends, or from deepening your relationships with old friends. It can even become a barrier in your relationship with God. Every human being is going to fail you at some point and unless you forgive this, you will become closed off to even the people you love.
God sacrificed His own Son so that you can live in relationship with Him. What are you willing to sacrifice to live in open meaningful relationships with God and with others? Are you willing to sacrifice your right to be right? Are you willing to admit your own need for forgiveness and then, having received God's forgiveness, give it to others?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus commands us to forgive and even says the forgiveness He extends to us depends somehow on how forgiving we are to others. Lay your hurt, disappointment, injury at the cross and experience the freedom of forgiveness, not only from your own sin, but also from the sins others have committed against you.
Families especially need to learn and live forgiveness. Forgiveness needs to be practiced and verbalized daily so that children learn how to ask for and to give forgiveness. When we teach our children to add "Please forgive me" to "I'm sorry," and to say "I forgive you" instead of "That's okay," they will learn to be the forgivers Jesus wants them to be.
JUST THE FACTS
How well did you listen to the story?
Q. What does Teddy do to make Liz and Spike want revenge?
A. He makes them fall and ruin their entry for the Science Expo.
Q. What do Liz and Spike to get back at Teddy?
A. They tape him to a tree and cause him to miss field hockey tryouts.
Q. What happens when Teddy "helps" Liz and Spike with their science experiment?
A. They both turn purple.
Q. What does Grandpa suggest Liz and Spike do to get back at Teddy?
A. Forgive him.
This question is meant to help the children develop a biblical understanding of God, who He is and what He does. The "answer" is not meant for parents to read to their children. Rather its purpose is to assist parents in guiding the conversation to this biblical understanding. We encourage you to use an open Bible in this conversation, building biblical literacy and well as a biblical theology.
Why is forgiveness important to God?
God sacrificed His own son so that we could be forgiven (Matthew 26:28). Because we are forgiven, God expects us to forgive others (Matthew 18:21-35 - The Parable of the Evil Servant (to hear this story, click here); Matthew 6:9-15; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12,13; 1 Peter 3:8, 9]. Jesus Himself forgave those who nailed Him to the cross (Luke 23:34).