Family faith-sharing tip:
One of the greatest ways for children to learn about God’s forgiveness is by experiencing your amazing forgiveness when they’ve been disobedient. Find ways to help them experience your positive forgiveness and loving, constructive discipline.
- 1 John 1:8, 9
- God forgives us whenever we are truly sorry for what we did and ask for His forgiveness. It’s important for us to forgive others too, so that we can share God’s love with them and find ways to mend broken relationships.
- Smooth, white stones, not too small—one per person
- A permanent marker pen
- Cocoa powder, or something to mix with the flour to make it brown and muddy-looking (or use air-drying clay after assuring that it will come off the stones easily once dry)
- Bowls of water and cleaning sponges or cloths
- Something to protect your work surfaces from the water (or do the activity outside)
- Yarn that can be snapped with bare hands
What you do:
- Prepare for this activity by using the permanent pen to write “You are forgiven” on each of the stones.
- Make a smooth paste that looks like mud (flour, water, and cocoa powder). Coat each stone thickly with this muddy-looking substance and let it dry so it sticks onto the stone.
- When the stones are ready, assemble the family.
- Give each person a muddy stone and ask them to think of something they have done wrong that hurt someone else, God, or themselves.
- Tell them that the muddy stone represents their wrongdoing, but Jesus doesn’t want us to stay muddy. He always wants to forgive us, clean us up, and mend our broken relationships with Him and other people.
- Provide water and old cloths and invite each person to pray silently for God’s forgiveness for what they have done wrong as they wash their stones clean.
- As they wash the stone clean, they will experience God’s forgiveness when they discover the hidden words. Pour the dirty water away so that it disappears forever.
- Discuss what it’s like to be completely forgiven by God—how free and peaceful and happy we feel when we know that God has completely forgiven us. And then think of practical ways to apologize, ask for forgiveness, and mend friendships that have been hurt, either by us or by others.
- Give each person a piece of thin yarn about 12 inches (30 cm) in length.
- Ask them to pull it until it snaps in two as they think about a friendship or relationship that is broken or hurting because of something that needs to be forgiven.
- Ask them to hold the broken yarn in their hands as they pray for, or think about, the hurting relationships. Ask God to help each of you forgive others and find ways to mend the hurts.
- Tie the two ends of the broken yarn together again and think of two things you could do to help mend the relationship.
- Keep the knotted yarn as a reminder to keep mending the broken relationships in your lives.