Many adults have a hard time forgiving, so it’s no surprise that children find it even more difficult. For children, the concepts of right and wrong are very black and white. If someone does something bad to them, they feel that person deserves to be punished. The idea of simply forgiving doesn’t make sense to them. In addition, kids have a strong sense of justice. They believe that everyone should be treated fairly, and that people who do bad things should be held accountable for their actions. As a result, when children are wronged, they often cry out “That’s not fair!” Forgiveness is a complex concept that takes time and maturity to fully understand. Fortunately, with a little patience and guidance, even the youngest child can learn to forgive.
This past Sunday, our Children Sunday School teacher, Vanessa leaned on the parable of the unmerciful servant, recorded in Matthew 18:21-35 to teach the little ones about the necessity to forgive others who have wronged them. People in Jesus’ day had a misunderstanding about forgiveness, so He used the parable to teach His friends ( Peter especially) and followers about true forgiveness. Peter, in particular, had a hazy grasp on what it meant to forgive someone who had wronged him. A repeat offender, in his opinion, could only be pardoned up to seven times. But Jesus corrected him tenderly and emphasized the plentiful supply of God’s mercy toward us after our repeated transgressions.
What was the takeaway for the children when it comes to forgiveness?
They should forgive others because of God’s tremendous mercy in forgiving them. And the same is true for adults! God wants us to recognize that hardening our hearts and refusing to forgive others harms them as well as ourselves. Choosing to be forgiving and kind to someone who has harmed us shows others that we believe in Jesus and love God.
Scripture References: Matthew 18:21-35