One of the most powerful actions God displays to us, His children, is that He chooses to forgive us of our sins. God loves people so much that He chose to give His son Jesus to be a sacrifice to die for us so that our sins could be removed from us. If a righteous God was willing to forgive us of our sins, He commands that we should therefore forgive people when they wrong us.
This was the line in the Lord’s Prayer we focused on this week with our children: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”
The first point we wanted the children to grasp was the severity of sin. Sin is a real problem that has real consequences and should not be seen as something like “naughty fun”. Some of the Cornerstone sites attempted to make brownies using all of the right ingredients, except also added a little bit of cat food. The children were horrified. We suggested that just a little bit of cat food shouldn’t be a problem. They were adamant that cat food, no matter how little, would ruin the whole brownie batch. With that revelation we told them how sin is the same. Just a little sin ruins our lives, and whether it was a little sin or a lot of sin, sin is still sin and ruins us and requires forgiveness.
We also taught how Jesus taught the disciples to forgive all of the time. God constantly forgives us. We should learn to forgive repeatedly as well. We also focused on the story where a king was willing to forgive his servant for a large amount of money owed, but how the servant, although forgiven, refused to forgive a friend for a little amount of money owed (Matthew 18:21-35). There is such an important message in this: we need to learn to forgive and ask God to help us to forgive others, simply because we have been forgiven by Him despite our many wrongs.
Speak to your children about the action of forgiveness. It is an action, not only a verbal practice. Learn to speak forgiveness but also show forgiveness by not reminding someone of their faults or constantly holding it against them. Imagine how sad life would be if God constantly reminded us of our faults and used them as a guilt trip against us. No, He forgives us and leads us to move on in life. Ask your children if they are carrying unforgiveness against someone. If yes then try to work it through with them to come to a place to forgive that person.
For you, mom and dad, it is important that you learn to show forgiveness. Children learn so much from their parents. If your children have done something wrong (which, being children, will happen quite frequently), after you have challenged them or disciplined them in some way, be quick to express that you have also forgiven them for what they did. Let your children see forgiveness and grace come from you first, especially against their wrongs. This will help them understand God’s grace and forgiveness and help them learn to show forgiveness to others too.
We would suggest that you do not make any brownies this week. Your children may question the ingredients you used and check the bin for cat food tins!
– The Children’s Church team