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Steps to Forgiveness
Aim: For each child to learn how to seek forgiveness from others and from God
Core Competency: Peace
Objectives: The children will
Key Verse: ...First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. ( Matthew 5:24 )
Story: "Jacob Seeks Esau's Forgiveness " ( Genesis 33 )
Eye on Science:
Advance Preparation:None, but each can should be tested to verify in advance that the diet drinks float and the non-diet drinks sink. If a non-diet drink floats, try other cans; this may be caused by an under-filled can.
Just before class, fill the jar almost to the top with water.
In Class:Tell the story of a father in Spain who had a teenaged son named Paco. Paco wanted more independence than his father would permit, and finally rebelled and left home. His distraught father sought him for several months without success. Finally, the father placed an advertisement in the Madrid newspaper: "Dear Paco, please meet me in front of the main post office at noon. All is forgiven. I love you. Your father."
The next day at noon, the man approach the main post office and was surprised to see about 800 young men, all named Paco, hoping that it was their father who wanted to forgive and welcome them back home.
Point out that everyone makes mistakes, and at some point each child present will need to seek the forgiveness of another. Use the story of Jacob and Esau to illustrate the steps in seeking forgiveness.
With a smile, point out that some children may never have offended anyone, and thus may not need to seek forgiveness "yet". However, those children can still put these steps to use.
Show the jar of water and the soda cans. Announce that this experiment is called "Sink or Swim" - each can will be placed in the water to determine if it floats or if it sinks. Let the children take turns selecting a can, then vote on whether they think it will float or sink. Add as much drama to each test as you can, plus a little humor ("Well done, though good and faithful soda can" to one that floats, and "broad is the path to the bottom of the tank" to one that sinks). Set all "floaters" on one side of the table, and "sinkers" on the other.
Once all cans have been tested, ask the children what determined if a can floated or sunk. The correct answer, of course, is the presence of sugar. Diet drinks float because they have no sugar. Sugary drinks sink because of the weight of the sugar.
Compare the sugar to sin (disobeying God). Sin will "pull us down" and keep us from knowing God. Emphasize that to remove the sin, we must seek God's forgiveness in exactly the same way as we discussed earlier.
By seeking forgiveness of others, we become a peacemaker with a reputation as God's children ( Matthew 5:9 ). By seeking God's forgiveness, we experience peace in our life ( Romans 5:1 ). We are free from anxiety because things are now right between God, others and ourselves.
Application: Have you specifically admitted your sin to God and asked His forgiveness? If not, will you do this today? From whom do you need to seek forgiveness this week?
Used: KIDZ 6/98 , BSF 1/99 , BSF 3/01 , KIDZ 09/02