Lesson 4: Hard To Say, ‘I’m Sorry!’
“I’m sorry” are two of the hardest words for someone to say. Even when the person who hurt us finally says those two words, it can be even harder for us to say, “I forgive you.” Forgiveness is hard to deal with, but not dealing with it is even worse. For a Christian, that’s not an option. We must not live our lives holding unforgive- ness towards someone, no matter what they have done to hurt us. If we do, it hurts us much more than it ever hurts them. In this lesson, the children will look at the parable of the Unforgiving Servant and learn that we must choose to forgive others because God has forgiven us of so much more
At Home Instructions
Big Idea God Forgave Me, So I Forgive You
Power Verse Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – Colossians 3:13
PRESCHOOL & ELEMENTARY Tell your children to pretend that you’ve loaned them the money to buy the item they’ve mentioned. Hand them enough pretend money to pay for their item, and remind them that they’ll have to pay you back. Ask your children how they’d feel if this happened in real life.
Then tell your children that you’ve decided that they don’t have to pay back the money you loaned them. Explain to them that this is called forgiving the loan; even though they did nothing to deserve it, they no longer owe you anything. Discuss the following questions:
• How would you feel if someone really loaned you money and then forgave your debt?
• What did the person have to give up in order to forgive your debt? (the right to get his money back)
• Why do you think someone would willingly forgive your debt?
• How do you think that person would feel after he forgave your debt?
Explain to your children that forgiving a person who has wronged us is our choice. When someone wrongs us, we may lose our trust and confidence in them, or they may harm our reputation. Just like a person who forgives a debt and doesn’t get his money back, we have to give up something in order to forgive—the right to make them try to fix things or pay us back. By forgiving them, we’re choosing to let go of the desire for revenge. Our reward? Approval, acceptance, and forgiveness from God.
Ask God to help you forgive people even when they don’t ask for forgiveness. Thank Him for not requiring you to pay Him back for everything you do wrong
AGES 12 & UP It may hurt when a friend forgets to call or decides to stay home instead of coming to your house, but it’s usually pretty easy to forgive them and get over it. But what about the times when a friend does something that causes you a lot of hurt or anger? How do you forgive them then?
Parents, talk about a situation in your past when someone hurt you and it was hard to forgive them. Answer the following questions:
• What was your initial reaction? How did you feel? What did you want to do?
• How did you handle the situation? (Don’t be afraid to admit you handled it poorly—your children know you’re human)
• If you faced that same situation now, would you do anything differently? If so, what?
• What did you do after you’d forgiven that person but feelings of hurt, anger, or revenge came back?
Just because we choose to forgive someone doesn’t mean all of the bad feelings are miraculously erased. When those feelings resurface, it’s important to do two things: remind yourself that you’ve already chosen to forgive that person, and then consciously start thinking about something else. The longer we dwell on how someone wronged us, the stronger the negative feelings become. By redirecting our thoughts to something positive, like Philippians 4:8 instructs us to, we can learn to control our emotions and reactions instead of having them control us.
Pray together, thanking God for His forgiveness. Ask Him to help you take control of your thoughts and learn to think about people—even people who have wronged you—like He does.
Leader: As we talk about dealing with forgiveness today, I am reminded of a story of...
Silly Willy: (comes up looking very sad; nothing like usual)
Leader: Hey, Silly Willy. Are you OK?
Silly Willy: No.
Leader: What’s wrong? Are you sick?
Silly Willy: No.
Leader: Are you sad? What’s wrong.
Silly Willy: Oh, nothing. You wouldn’t understand.
Leader: Why don’t you tell me about it. Maybe I will understand.
Silly Willy: Oh...ok. You see, I was on the playground at school the other day just minding my own business. I was playing kickball with my friends when this group of girls walked up. Well, I was trying to look really cool when it was my turn to kick, so I brought my leg back real far and kicked as hard as I could.
Leader: (getting excited) Did you kick a home run?
Silly Willy: No. I slipped on the grass and fell on my behind! I looked like a dummy in front of everyone, especially the girls.
Leader: Oh no. Then what happened?
Silly Willy: Well, I got up and went over to the girls because they were laughing at me. I told them to stop it. Then, one of the girls named Susan pointed at me and said, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like a frog? You have huge eyes and a weird shaped head!”
Leader: (shocked) Silly Willy, are you serious? I am so sorry she said that. That’s not nice at all.
Silly Willy: You better believe it’s not nice. I hate that girl.
Leader: Now, Silly Willy. I know that what she did hurt your feelings. But, you can’t hate her. God does not want us to hate people, even if they do something that hurts us. We have to forgive them.
Silly Willy: Forgive her? Are you kidding me? There’s no way in the world I could forgive her. She’s just lucky I don’t punch her in the nose...
Leader: (interrupts) Now, Silly Willy.
Silly Willy: ...or put chocolate pudding in her socks...
Leader: (interrupts) Now, Silly Willy.
Silly Willy: ...or put a thumbtack in her chair so it pokes her behind when she sits down...
Leader: (loudly) Silly Willy, STOP THAT! Now, we are learning today about how we are supposed to forgive those who hurt us. When someone does something mean to us, we can’t hate them and hold bad feelings toward them, or try to pay them back. If we do that, we are only hurting ourselves. We must choose to forgive them just like God forgave us.
Silly Willy: Well, yeah, but when God forgave me it wasn't from me saying He looked like a frog.
Leader: That’s true. It was much worse. When God forgave you it was from all of the sins that you had in our life. You had broken God’s laws and God’s heart by going against Him and choosing to sin. But, He loved you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross to pay for your sin. When you have been forgiven of so much, it’s the least you can do to forgive Susan.
Silly Willy: Wow, I never thought of it like that. God forgave me of so much, and if He wants me to forgive Susan, then that is exactly what I am going to do.
Leader: Good for you.
Silly Willy: You sure I can’t just put ONE thumbtack in her chair?
Leader: (shocked) Silly Willy!?
Silly Willy: I’m just kidding. I forgive her. See you later, kids!
Leader: Goodbye, Silly Willy. (turn to kids) You know, it’s never easy to forgive someone when they hurt you. But, today we are going to learn how we can DEAL WITH IT!
Choose three boys and three girls to compete in this game. Choose two leaders from the audience to come sit down in a chair. Give each team a roll of toilet paper. When you say, “Go,” each team begins to try to wrap the leader up in toilet paper. The team that has the leader covered the most by the time the music ends, wins. After the game, say:
We just saw what it looks like when they bury a mummy. It looked pretty funny. But, kids, there are times when someone hurts us and we try to BURY the pain inside and refuse to DEAL WITH IT. We refuse to forgive them and just BURY our hurt and bitterness inside of us. When that happens, it certainly isn’t funny. It hurts us a lot. Today, we are going to learn how to take that unforgiveness and DEAL WITH IT!
In preparation read through the parable in Matthew 18:23-35.
Two of the hardest words in the world to say are, “I’m sorry!” When you do something wrong to someone else, even if you feel bad about it, for some reason it is very difficult to go to the person and say, “I’m sorry.” But, there are three words that are even tougher to say. Those words? “I forgive you.”
You see, as tough as it is to say, “I’m sorry” when you hurt someone, it is even harder to say, “I forgive you” to someone who has hurt you. We’ve all been hurt. Maybe you were physically hurt by someone who beat you up or hit you out of anger. You don’t want to forgive the person who did it. Maybe you were “emotionally” hurt...that means that someone hurt your feelings...by someone who made fun of you or said they would not be your friend. You don’t want to forgive them because it still hurts when you think about it.
I am sure we could all tell stories of how we have been hurt by people at school, our friends, maybe even our families. But, as hard as it is to do, we must forgive them. So, today, we are going to tell you how to take the hurt that you are feeling, DEAL WITH IT, and choose to forgive the person who hurt you.
You say, “Well, I am not sure I can do it.” They really did hurt me bad. I understand what you are feeling. The disciples also understood what you are feeling. One day they were asking Jesus how many times we must forgive someone when they hurt us? Jesus answered by telling a story in Matthew 18. (Choose a volunteer from the audience to come up and play the part of the King. Place the fake crown on their heads and declare them the “King of the world!” Then, choose someone in the audience to come up and play the part of the servant. Tell them to act out the story as you tell it. Have them repeat after you when you say one of the lines they are supposed to say.)
The story Jesus told went like this: “Once there was a King who decided it was time to collect all of the money he had loaned out to his servants. There was one servant in particular who owed him millions and millions of dollars. So, the King said, ’Bring that servant to me.’ The servant came into the King’s court and knelt down in front of the King. The King said, ‘Servant, you have a debt of several million dollars. You must pay it now or else I will have to sell your entire family into slavery to pay your debt.’ The servant was desperate. He said back to the king, ‘Oh, King. Please have mercy on me! I promise I will pay it back. Give me more time!’
The king felt sorry for the servant and said, ‘I have decided to forgive you of your debt. You no longer owe me ANY money.’ The servant jumped for joy. He was so excited to be forgiven of the debt. He skipped out of the king’s court whistling a tune. (now, pick another volunteer to come up and play the part of the second servant)
On his way out, he ran into a fellow servant. This servant had borrowed some money from the first servant. It wasn’t a lot, just a little over a hundred dollars. The first servant grabbed the second servant by the throat and screamed, ‘Give me my money! You owe me money!’ The second servant began to beg, ‘Oh, please, sir. Give me more time. I will pay you back. Have mercy on me.’ But, the first servant demanded that the second servant be thrown into prison until he was able to pay the debt.
Meanwhile, the King heard about what the first servant had done. He demanded the servant come back to his court. He said, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you millions of dollars and you can’t forgive your fellow servant of a hundred dollars? I command you to be thrown into prison until you pay back every penny of the money you owe me!’ And, that’s exactly what happened. THE END.” (Have your audience give your volunteers a hand and send the volunteers back to their seats.)
What an amazing story, kids. Can you believe that the first servant would be SO mean as to not forgive the second servant even after he had already been forgiven of so much? Well, this story is very important because Jesus was telling it to make a point. You see, boys and girls, the King in the story represents GOD. The first servant represents you and me. The second servant represents those who hurt us that we need to forgive.
Many times we are just like the first servant. We refuse to forgive those who have hurt us even when we know that God has forgiven us of so much more. We must choose to DEAL WITH our unforgiveness. We can’t hold those feelings inside and refuse to forgive. That is sin. We must choose to forgive! Why should I forgive? 1. Because God Forgives Me!
That’s really all the reason we should need. Because God forgives us, we should forgive others. How terrible that we would not be willing to give others the same forgiveness that God gives to us. But, many times we forget just how much God forgives us. He says we must give the same level of forgiveness to others. But, there is another reason why we should forgive others: 2. Because Not Forgiving Hurts Me!
I know what you are thinking. “No, it doesn’t. It makes me feel good NOT to forgive others.” But, there’s something that happens when you choose not to forgive others that hurts you more than you can ever imagine. At the end of the story, after the part where the King threw the first servant in jail and refused to forgive him, Jesus says these words, “This is what My Father will do to those who refuse to forgive others.”
WOW! You mean if we refuse to forgive others, God will refuse to forgive us? That’s what the Bible says. That is more hurt than we could ever imagine. Not forgiving hurts ME more than it ever hurts the other person. And, that is why we have to make a huge choice: 3. Choose To Forgive!
It won’t “just happen.” We must make a choice to forgive that person. That doesn’t mean you pretend like it never hurt. It doesn’t even mean that you have to be best friends with the person who hurt you. But, you do have to let go of the bad feelings you have toward them and forgive them in your heart. Maybe you even should let them know that you have forgiven them. If you do, then your Father in Heaven will be able to forgive you. And, THAT is the greatest thing of all!
(play soft music) Pray for those who have been holding bad feelings and unforgiveness in their hearts toward others. Many of the children may have been holding feelings in their heart against their parents, brothers, sisters, friends, or enemies. Some of them may need to go to the person this week and tell them that they are forgiven. There’s an amazing freedom that is felt when we CHOOSE to forgive!
What was today’s Big Idea? Answer: God Forgave Me, So I Forgive You!
What did the girl tell Silly Willy he looked like? Answer: A frog
When someone hurts us, should we try to get revenge? Answer: No, we should forgive them
How much did the first servant owe the King? Answer: Millions of dollars
When the second servant couldn’t pay back the money to the first servant, what did the first servant do? Answer: Had the second servant thrown into prison
We should forgive others because __________ forgave us. Answer: God
We should forgive others because if we don’t, God will not __________ us. Answer: Forgive
Is it always easy to forgive someone who hurt you? Answer: No, sometimes it is hard
According to our lesson, we must _____________ to forgive. Answer: Choose
Where was our Power Verse found? Answer: Colossians 3:13