Go equipped with a challenge for one or two volunteers. For example: origami! Give them a piece of paper each and ask them to fold it into a giraffe or a hippopotamus or whatever else you think may be rather difficult!). How did they rise to the challenge? Who was the most successful? Can you think of any great challenges that could or have been accomplished? Climbing Mount Everest, running a marathon, swimming the English channel, walking from Lands End to John O’ Groats! How many people could do any of those things? Does anyone have any ambitions to do something challenging?
A Challenge from Jesus
Jesus was once asked how many times we should forgive someone. (Matthew 18:21-35) Seven times? ‘No,’ says Jesus, ‘seventy times seven.’ That’s a great challenge from Jesus. Not only should we forgive someone a certain number of times, we should go on forgiving! Now, in reality, if we have to go on forgiving someone all the time it may be because they are doing something wrong to us all the time, and we may think that they are just taking advantage of us! But forgiveness and love have no limits. We either love or we don’t love. We either forgive or we don’t forgive.
Forgiveness frees us!
Forgiveness not only frees/liberates the other person, it also frees us. It is easy to withhold our forgiveness, it is easy to keep our love to ourselves, but then we run the risk of becoming bitter and isolated. To share it with others is the big challenge. To forgive someone who has really hurt us is difficult. It may seem like an insurmountable challenge. It may seem like a large mountain to climb but without forgiveness and love the obstacle of sin and bitterness are far bigger. It doesn’t mean, of course, that the pain of being hurt disappears. But Jesus has shown us a way of life in which we must give, give, give...and go on giving! Then, we will be able to begin the process of healing and being healed.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: You may want to give them an example of someone who has been hurt and been able to forgive—check out the website links opposite
Have you ever been hurt by someone?
Were you able to forgive them?
How difficult was it?
Are there things in your life now that causes resentment or bitterness?
Have you ever been forgiven by someone?
How did it feel?
there are many challenges in life!
Help us to share your forgiveness with others
so that we may be free to serve you
and bring your love to the world.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.