Have you ever been taken advantage of? Stolen from? Mistreated? Perhaps by a complete stranger? Perhaps by a close friend? Regardless of the offense or the offender, forgiveness honors God and allows us to live at peace with others. Our forgiveness is motivated by remembrance of the incredible, underserved forgiveness we have been given in Christ. By trusting God and His amazing gift, we can ask for forgiveness, give it, and be a peacemaker with others.
MEMORY VERSE: “I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 (NLT)
Onesimus was a servant of Philemon who ran away. The Bible doesn’t come right out and say it, but many scholars believe Onesimus stole something from his master, Philemon. Onesimus ended up in Rome, the biggest city in the Roman Empire at the time, and guess who he met? PAUL! Paul told Onesimus about Jesus’s love and forgiveness of sins, and Onesimus believed! Paul then sent Onesimus back to Philemon, asking Philemon to welcome Onesimus back… not as a slave, but rather as a “brother in the Lord.” While we don’t actually know how Philemon responded to Paul’s plea on behalf of Onesimus, we do know that Paul was acting as a peacemaker between these men. Paul’s hope was that their saving faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins would allow them to live at peace with one another, united as brothers in Christ.
* Check out our vision for parents and how to use these activities each week.
While at dinner this week read Romans 12:18 to your family. What does God command us in that verse? Ask your family if they are doing everything they can to live at peace with the people in their lives. Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive? Is there someone in your life that you need to ask for forgiveness from? What is stopping you? How can doing that help you to live in peace instead of living with a troubled heart? Explain to your family how remembering what Christ did for us on the cross helps us to forgive and live in peace with others.
Plan to get some one-on-one time with each of your kids this week. There are a lot of things going on in our world right now that might be trying to rob them of peace. Ask them intentional questions about how they are feeling. Is there anyone or anything that is troubling their hearts or are they at peace? Why are they at peace or not at peace? Remind them of how God is always in control, even over the things that might try to take their peace. Pray over them, asking God to show them just how good and trustworthy He is!
For more ideas of how to talk with your kids about hard things, check out the article, “Navigating Hard Things with Your Kids,” by our Family Ministry team.
As you are getting your family ready for bed, review this month’s memory verse and pray through it together. Ask God to use this verse to renew your mind and strengthen your heart.
"I am leaving you with a gift- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 (NLT)
Make time this week to play a game together as a family. Any game will work! In your mind, the goal of the game is not to find a winner or a loser but to keep peace while playing an entire game. At the beginning of the game tell your family that there is only one new rule: You can only say encouraging words to each other throughout the game (i.e. Complimenting someone on a smart move or a good strategy). Negative words make you lose points. Tell them that they need to trust you. Take note on how the game goes. At the end of the game ask your family how they think it went. Were they able to keep peace? If so, why? Explain to them that your goal for the game was for everyone to stay at peace.
Thank God for the forgiveness He gave you even though you didn’t deserve it. Ask Him to help you forgive, ask for forgiveness, and be a peacemaker. Thank Him for the peace He gives when we trust Him.
Next week we will finish the month of March by learn that trusting God gives us peace is any circumstance.
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