Today in God Squad we looked at the parable of the unforgiving servant which Jesus told to help Peter understand forgiveness. It is provided in Matthew chapter 18.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
We started, as ever with worship. We meet with parachute games, we give ours sins to God with paper balls thrown to God and we hear we are loved through a song. We entered the story by hearing the story as told by Bob Hartman in the Lion Storyteller Bible which the kids loved, especially with the repeating theme of hey, ok then. The kids totally got the fact that we are told to forgive others like God loves us.
I had prepared a table with bowls of water, stones and the images of ripples on water which were in my post on apologies.
Next I showed them some pictures of broken toys including these
I asked them to say how they'd feel if someone broke their favourite toy and whether they'd be able to forgive the person who did it. They all agreed that it would be hard but that they would be forgive someone.
We spoke a little about bullying
The kids shared their experiences of bullying and how they tell their teachers and parents if it happens. We spoke about turning away from someone who's being mean and we prayed together for all those people who bully others.
The girls and some of the boys in our group love craft, but for some it's just not their thing. I always have a few craft activities available to hopefully engage everyone in at least one activity. Today we had colouring of a WWJD picture, making a paper hat with the logo WWJD and the activity everyone took part in.....
Making WWJD bracelets.
1. get a piece of paper and scribble on loads of colours to show how you feel when someone is mean to you or breaks a toy or shouts at you.
2. cut that piece of paper into thin strips (I had marked lines on the back of the paper for the kids to cut along)
3. roll up these strips with the colours on the outside to make paper beads
4. repeat the process 4 times and write W W J and D on each one
5. string the beads onto elastic and tie round your wrist
The kids loved it and the bracelets were worn with pride, here are some of the kids showing theirs off, aren't they great.
Oh and if you're wondering what WWJD is; it's What Would Jesus Do. I wanted the kids to think what Jesus would do if he did something wrong - he'd say sorry, or if someone was mean to him - he'd forgive them.