We all have hurts and disappointments in our lives caused by other people. This is a sad truth in our fallen world. Some are small and some hurts cut so deeply that we may think we’ll never recover. God’s ultimate kindness was shown to us on the cross and because of that He calls us to show kindness to others by forgiving them. Forgiveness is not always easy but when we remember keep our focus on who God is and what He’s done for us, He gives us the strength to show that kindness to others.
MEMORY VERSE: “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." EPHESIANS 4:32 NLT
This month we’ve already talked about God’s greatest act of kindness, sending Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. But did you know that even in the midst of that suffering, Jesus showed kindness to others by forgiving them? The crowds mocked Him and the soldiers beat Him but Jesus asked God to forgive them. Even while He hung on the cross, one of the criminals next to Him saw Jesus for who He really was, the Messiah. The man had done absolutely nothing to deserve God’s kindness but Jesus forgave Him and promised they would be together in paradise. (Luke 23)
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While at dinner this week ask each of your family members to describe what forgiveness is. A definition of forgiveness could be -- giving up my right to hurt you in response to you hurting me. The word “forgive” means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, to cancel a debt. When we wrong someone, we seek his or her forgiveness in order for the relationship to be restored. It is important to remember that forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. Instead, it is an act of love, mercy, and grace.
Ask your family to write down a way that they have been hurt by someone (preferably family) on a piece of paper. Discuss what it would mean for them to forgive that person for what they did. Explain how forgiveness is not holding onto the wrongs that have been done to you. Then take all the pieces of paper that have their hurts written on them and think of fun ways to destroy them. You could tear them up, throw them away, burn them, or find a way to make them explode!
Before your family goes to bed, tell them that you have a story to read them. Explain to them that the story is made up of incredible forgiveness that points to a REAL story! Click this link for the story. After reading it ask your family if they saw that it was about them and ask who they were in the story. Then ask what the story tells us about God’s kindness to us.
As you are getting your family ready for the day ask them to be thinking of times that they have been shown forgiveness. Then, before you walk out of the door, spend just a few minutes sharing these with each other.
Thank God for His ultimate act of kindness on the cross. Ask Him to help you offer forgiveness and ask for it when needed.
Next week we are starting the month of March with PERSEVERANCE. We will be learning that going the distance starts by understanding the ultimate prize.
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