17 September 2023
Bible readings for today
your forgiveness is more than we can imagine.
Enable us to take hold of the forgiveness you offer
and to have the grace to forgive others as we are forgiven.
Through Jesus Christ our Liberator,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35)
Jesus talks about forgiveness, and what it means to forgive someone.
Over and over again Bible story
The unmerciful servant
A story about God's forgiveness and forgiving others which can be found on the Sermons 4 Kids website.
Here is a fun retelling of the Unmerciful Servant, as told by some young kids and acted out by adults.
What does it mean to forgive someone?
When someone says sorry to us, God calls us to forgive them. If we are able to do this when the apology occurs, we can use words like ‘I forgive you’, ‘that’s ok’ etc
Sometimes we are not ready to do this. Time is needed, both for the offender to be ready to apologise and for the victim to recieve the apology well. Sometimes the victm needs to be able to express the depth of their hurt - perhaps this needs to occur before an apology from the offender is given, so that both understand the extent of what has happened.
Deep hurts are not always easily forgotten and when they come to mind, we have a choice about how we choose to think & act. When we choose to forgive, we give the hurt to God & determine not to let it make us bitter/think badly of the offender. Sometimes, though we have chosen to forgive, our memories of the event come back to us. This does not mean we have not had an attitude of forgiveness, but rather that we need to choose to forgive again, as we see the situation through older eyes.
Have you ever hurt someone else - with your words or what you did? Sometimes we upset someone by accident, eg when we break something that doesn’t belong to us. What’s it like to say sorry? Have you ever said sorry when you didn’t mean it? Who needs some time to calm down before they can apologise? (I do) How can you show you are sorry? How can you show you forgive someone who hurt you? When is it hard to forgive?
Who do you know that shows/has shown forgiveness?
Are you holding on to something you need to give to God? Something you are sorry about, or someone you need to forgive? Can you bring it to God this morning?
Prayer Spaces have two great forgiveness prayers for you to try -- Fizzy Forgiveness and Forgiveness Stones. You can find more information about them here
A teaching aid for forgiveness from Mina Munns, at Flame: Creative Children's Ministry
Game - I'm sorry!
What you need: circle of chairs facing inwards
What to do: Have the children sit on the chairs and have one person in the middle. The person in the middle chooses someone in the circle. They start by going up to the person and saying ‘I need to talk to you about something.’ The person sitting down replies ‘What about?’
The person in the middle then makes up a situation involving that person that needs an apology, eg. ‘The other day when you didn’t tell me about the banana skin on the floor and then I slipped on it and everyone laughed, well I was embarrassed.’
The person sitting must then reply with as much sincerity as they can, “I’m sorry”
Now the trick is for the person in the middle to make the person sitting laugh or seem insincere by making the situation as silly and funny as they can. If the sitting person laughs or seems insincere, they swap places with the person in the middle. If they manage to say ‘I’m sorry’ sincerely, then the person in the middle must choose someone else and start with a different story.
Game - would you say "I'm sorry?"
What you need: a list of situations where you may or may not want to say ‘I’m sorry’ (see the list below for ideas)
What to do: Get all the children to stand in the middle of the room. Choose one end of the room to be ‘I’m sorry’; and the opposite end of the room to be ‘I’m not sorry’
Explain to the children that you will read out an “I” statement. The children then have ten seconds to decide whether they would be sorry or not if it had been them. Keep going as long as you wish.
Eg ‘I gave my mother a bunch of flowers’
“I kicked my best friend”
‘I helped my dad with the gardening’
‘I didn’t eat my vegetables’
‘I drew on the wallpaper with felt pen’
Forgiveness memory verse
Although from a slightly earlier passage in Matthew, a good 'forgiveness' memory verse for this week could be:
"For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you" -- Matthew 6:14
Unforgiveness can feel like carrying around a backpack of rocks, and when we give our worries and grudges to God, he can lighten our load. This memory verse could be written out on rocks or pebbles, and rearranged as a puzzle. Once the kids are more confident with the memory verse, you can always remove different rocks and have the kids fill in the gaps.
Craft - the forgiving king / queen
What you need: balloons, 2 large feet drawn onto an A4 sheet (joined together), bits and pieces of paper that may be useful for decorating your King/Queen, scissors, glue, tape etc
What to do:
Note: you may want to talk to the children about how the King in the story represents God. And that they can use their ‘Forgiving King/Queen’ to talk to about when they have done something wrong that they want to say sorry for. You might like to even finish off the lesson with time of prayer.
Craft - forgiveness crown
A Forgiveness crown craft from Sunday School Zone, free to download and print.
Source: Sunday School Zone (All rights reserved)
Moses leads God's people through the Red Sea.
Saddleback Kids have a 'Moses Song' you can learn.
Let’s meet Moses who lived in the palace of Pharaoh,
Moses did something bad and it was a big uh-oh!
So Moses ran far, far away
The people of Israel were stuck working all day
Moses was tending his sheep when he heard his name
God spoke to him through a bush that was burning up in flames!
God had a great plan
But Moses said, “No way, you’ve got the wrong man!”
God let Moses’ brother speak on his behalf
And the two went to the Pharaoh, each carrying a staff
Aaron told Pharaoh to “Let God’s people go!”
But the Pharaoh told them, “No! No! No!”
God sent plagues to the land and to the skies.
Frogs and bugs and hail and even some pesky flies.
After many days of this the Egyptians were sad
Pharaoh said, “Get out of here!” and the Israelites were glad.
Moses and the Israelites left Egypt behind
But then the Pharaoh just up and changed his mind
The Pharaoh chased the Israelites and they were as scared as could be
But Moses raised his staff and God parted the Red Sea!
All of God’s people walked on dry land,
And the Israelites went free just as God had planned.
Source: Saddleback Kids