Scripture: Matthew 18:15-35, Luke 36-50
- Students will learn God wants us to settle conflict quickly and in godly ways.
- Students will learn God wants us to forgive those who hurt us, as many times as necessary.
- Students will learn there is a process for handling conflict with those who have sinned against you and will not repent.
Guiding Questions: How can we learn to forgive others? What is the best way to ask someone else for their forgiveness?
Materials: paper, markers, scenario cards (optional)
Procedure: Read students the scriptures above or tell them the stories. Explain to younger students (ask older students) that forgiveness is so important to God because He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross, so our sins could be forgiven. God gets very upset when we don’t forgive other people like He forgave us.
Ask students if they ever have trouble forgiving someone. Have them share examples of when it is hard to forgive others. Ask them to think of things they can do to help them remember to forgive others like God forgives us.
Tell them there is another part to forgiveness. Remind them that sometimes they do something that upsets someone else. Or they make a mistake that hurts someone. Or they actually sin against someone and hurt them.
Tell them, God expects us to repent of our sins and ask others to forgive us when we have hurt them. Explain that just muttering “Sorry.” and obviously not really meaning it is not what God expects.
Explain that a great apology or when we repent to God actually means we do 6 things most of the time.
- Say “I’m sorry” (and really mean it)
- Tell the other person (or God) what you did that was wrong.
- Admit that it was your choice and therefore your fault.
- Tell the other person (or God) that you will really try to never do it again.
- Ask the other person if there is something you can do to fix it or make things better.
- Ask the other person (or God) to please forgive you.
Tell students that even most grownups don’t know how to apologize properly, but that after practicing today they will be great at apologizing.
Give them a scenario when they may need to apologize (or ask them to give you one). Go through each of the steps and talk about what they could say or do for each one of them. If they struggle, give additional scenarios until they feel comfortable with the process.
Have older students split into pairs and practice apologizing using all of the steps. The person being apologized to should critique the person apologizing. The goal is to practice being sincere when apologizing. You may have to work together as a class to talk about ways to apologize and really mean it. (Also discuss things that sound like apologizes, but really aren’t like “I’m sorry you feel that way.”)
Give students paper and markers. Have them draw and/or write the steps of a great apology/repentance down so they can take it home and share it with their families. Encourage them to go home and teach their families the lesson from today.