March 2017: Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a reflection of the character of God.
Throughout Scripture, we are reminded about God’s grace and forgiveness.
God makes us white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18)
God’s mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
God is faithful and just to forgive our sins. (1 John 1:9)
When our relationship with God was broken beyond repair, God offered His only Son as the way to forgive us and restore the broken relationship.
Since we are created in God’s image, we have the ability to offer forgiveness when people in our lives hurt us. God’s love in us makes it possible for us to forgive others and work towards fixing our own relationships that break down from time to time.
Jesus made it possible for us to have God’s forgiveness.
God showed us just how much He cares about forgiveness when He made the ultimate sacrifice and sent Jesus to pay the price for our sin. While sin separates us from God, He offers grace and forgiveness as a gift for us to receive. We have been forgiven of so much, it’s only right that we turn to those in our lives and offer forgiveness to them in return.
That’s why we think it’s important for us to help our kids and families discover more about Forgiveness–deciding that someone who has wronged you doesn't have to pay.
Our Memory Verse for March comes from Colossians 3:13.
In Colossians 3:13, we read, “Put up with one another. Forgive one another if you are holding something against someone. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you.” (NIrV)
This verse, from Paul’s letter to the church at Colossi, reminds us not only that God forgave our sins, but also that we should forgive others instead of holding grudges against one another. We pray that throughout March, families will let go of what they’re holding against each other and choose to forgive. We think that this could be a powerful month in the lives of kids and families in our churches.
We will spend the month of March taking a closer look at the way forgiveness shows up throughout a few of the parables Jesus told His followers.
We start off the month learning about the lengths God will go to rescue His children. In Luke 15:1-7, we listen to a story Jesus told about a shepherd that risked the entire flock in order to find and rescue the one sheep who has run off.
Bottom Line: God forgives you.We’ll focus on God’s love for us that went to great lengths to rescue us from our sin. Through this story of the Lost Sheep, we pray that kids will remember that God forgives us.
We continue our look at forgiveness with one of Jesus’ most well known parables. In Luke 15:11-24, Jesus talks about a kid who thinks he’s got it all together. He demands half of his dad’s money and takes off to spend it on himself. It’s only when the money is gone he realizes he’s made a HUGE mistake and needs forgiveness. He’s got just one hope: that his dad will let him come home and be a servant.
Bottom Line: Everyone needs to be forgiven, even me. Realizing one’s need for forgiveness is a huge step for anyone. But through Jesus’ story, we hope kids realize that everyone needs forgiveness, even them.
We continue Jesus parable of the Lost Son in Luke 15:21-32. Although the son returns ready to work off the money he took from his father, the father welcomes his Lost Son home, and even throws a giant party! But not everyone’s too happy about this. The kid’s older brother has obeyed dad all his life—without a single party to show for it. He’s sulking in the backyard until his dad shows up. And if big brother isn’t willing to let this whole thing go, he’ll miss out.
Bottom Line: When you don’t forgive, you miss out. The same thing is true for us. When we don’t forgive we have the potential to miss out on all that could happen through that relationship. God can give us the strength we need to forgive. And when we do, we get to find out the amazing things that God can do when we decided to forgive.
We finish the month with another one of Jesus’ parables in Matthew 18:21-35. Jesus tells the story of a servant who likes to live it up—even though he’s weighed down by MILLIONS of dollars in debt! This servant gets a big break when the king forgives his debt. You’d think he’s got it made—until he finds a man who owes him a few bucks. You’d think he’d pay it forward and cancel the debt, but that’s not what happened. He gets caught when he didn’t forgive others like the king forgave him.
Bottom Line: Since God forgave you, you should forgive others. Forgiveness is full circle. God chose to forgive us when we had a huge debt against Him because of our sin. Because we are forgiven of so much, when others hurt us, we should respond with forgiveness in return. We pray that kids will start to realize how they can forgive people in their life.