We live in a world populated by sinners. Even the redeemed ones are not perfect, so chances are you’ve been hurt by someone and you’ve hurt someone else. The easy thing may be to hold on to grudges or just avoid the hurts, but God calls us to something more. Just as He offers to forgive us when we don’t deserve it, we also can give mercy to others even when they don’t deserve it. It’s not always easy, but we can trust that God is good and demonstrate that to others by giving mercy.
MEMORY VERSE: “But you, O Lord are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15 (NLT)
Joseph had every reason in the world to hold a grudge. His brothers tricked his dad into thinking he was dead and sold him into slavery. As a slave in Egypt he was falsely convicted of a crime and sent to prison. God then made him 2nd in command in Egypt and used him to save people from starving during a famine. When Joseph’s brothers showed up begging for food, they didn’t recognize him. He could have gotten revenge or sent them away empty handed. Instead, because he trusted God was fully in control of everything, Joseph welcomed his brothers, gave them mercy they did not deserve, and saved his whole family from the famine.
* Check out our vision for parents and how to use these activities each week.
Right after a dinner this week read the story of Joseph to your family out of your favorite children’s bible. At the end of your story give everyone in your family a piece of paper and something to write with. Then instruct them that they are going to rate from 1 – 10 how much mercy Joseph’s brothers deserved. 10 = Definitely deserved mercy and 1 = Did not deserve any mercy. Have everyone show their number and ask them to tell you why they picked that number. Then ask them from 1 – 10 how much mercy Joseph gave his brothers. 10 = The most mercy every. 1 = Zero mercy. Then ask your family who else has shown huge amounts of mercy to people who didn’t deserve it!? (hint: Jesus!)
While driving with your family ask for at least two ideas from every person about situations where they would have an opportunity to show/give mercy. Then ask them at the end of the day how their day went, and if there were any opportunities to give to someone mercy that day.
As you are putting your family to bed at night talk about how merciful God was to send His only Son to die on a cross for our sins, even though we didn’t deserve it. Ask your kids if it helps them show mercy by remembering the mercy given to us through Jesus. Be sure to point out that on a scale of 1- 10 of deserving mercy from God we are a 0! But God has chosen to offer us the most mercy ever!
If you have a game like, Sorry! (or Trouble or Wahoo), have a family game night sometime this week! When everyone gathers around the board, explain to each person that when they roll and have the opportunity to knock someone out of a space and back to start, they can instead choose whether or not they will GIVE mercy by stopping in the space right behind the one that’s occupied. Enjoy!
Thank God for people who have shown you mercy in your life. Ask Him to help you extend His mercy to others, even those who are really challenging to love.
Next week we will continue in our trait for June, MERCY!