"Do You Forgive Me"

The preschoolers have been in the Gospel Project curriculum for Preschool Worship and Sunday School. Through this curriculum, we go through the entire Bible in three years. We have gone through this curriculum several times, and as a teacher, I rather enjoy the materials. However, sometimes, the lessons seem to be a bit hard for the children to understand. It can feel like an eternity in the Old Testament where we talk about the Kings, and the Judges, and how Israel and Judah repeatedly made the wrong choices. You see, preschoolers understand about making right and wrong choices. They (and I) are baffled by the leaders that continuously make the choice that goes against God. It can seem monotonous to repeat week after week “Guess what, the King disobeyed God. AGAIN.” Kids understand impulsivity, and getting in trouble for not doing what the leader says. Although they, like the Israelites repeatedly defy us.
This coming Sunday we will be talking about how Jesus got arrested – even though He never made a wrong choice! We will be talking about how Jesus’ friends (the Disciples) abandoned Him when He needed them most. Last week, we were talking about the Last Supper and how Jesus took the posture of a servant to wash each of their feet. Although I offered for the children to wash my smelly feet, none of them wanted to. They seemed to understand that it was a very humble act for Jesus to do. I know they will be baffled at how His friends could turn on Him so quickly! Children have such a big heart; they don’t understand that level of betrayal. But as adults, we understand it. In fact, I bet we all have experienced that kind of betrayal in our own lives. We need to look to Jesus’ example on how to handle it. Did Jesus hate Peter all the rest of his days? Of course not. He knew Peter would deny Him even before Peter did! His forgiveness was total, and absolute. In John 21, Jesus reappears to Peter and asks him several repetitive questions. “Do you love me, Peter?” said Jesus, “then feed my lambs”. He asks this three times of Peter. He was clearly asking Peter if he was ready to truly follow Him. He wasn’t holding a grudge against Peter. He didn’t kick Peter out of the ministry. It’s truly an example of forgiveness that we need to model. We teach the children often that when another friend hurts them, they need to offer forgiveness before the whole situation is over. The offender needs to apologize, and the victim needs to offer forgiveness. We are working on helping them learn that forgiveness is part of the process of being hurt. As much as we try to protect our children from hurt, it is inevitable. The best thing we can do is to equip them on how to handle it.