RELATED VERSE: AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS
A Letter to Read/Use As A Guide With Your Children
I’ve got another fun little story for you:
The four of you children decided it was an excellent day to play some football in the back yard. Being football season, the football “bug” had bitten Bink, and his enthusiasm with the sport was quite catchy! Everybody excitedly “suited up” with any kind of gear that could be found around the house. The teams were chosen: the girls, the Fighting Iris, would play the boys, the Bumble Bees. This was a pretty fair match-up considering the sizes: the girls the biggest and smallest players, Maggie (9) and Emmy (3), while the boys had the two medium-sized players, Bink (7) and Davis (4).
Now, the only rule by the referee, your Mother (who thought is best to watch the game from the kitchen window), was: if there were BIG tears, the game would be over that instant. So Bink, whose goal was to play football until the moon came out, made sure his tackles towards Emmy would be done with much gentleness and grace. However, towards Maggie, he would show no mercy!
And what a grand day of play it was! The game consisted of lots of running, and tackling, and throwing, and screaming; and then, more running, and tackling, and throwing, and screaming. Bink used his toughness and knowledge of the game; Davis used his speed and agility; Maggie used her size and insight; and little Emmy’s display of “total body sacrifice” was phenomenal! Each player made at least one incredible touchdown, causing the game to come down to the very last second, and the very last play…Finally, the referee, who stepped out onto the porch, blew the whistle, and the game was over! (Now, because I’m your mother, who loves both the Fighting Iris and the Bumble Bees dearly, I’m not going to say anymore about the score. You can each use your imagination, and create your very own hero/heroine ending.)
It was now time to shake hands and come in. And, in you all came! Each of you was red-faced, and your hair was wringing wet with sweat. The boy’s hair stood straight up on its ends, while the girls’ stuck to the back of their neck and on the sides of their cheeks. But more than your sweaty appearance, you were all delighted in the fact that your “football pants” were covered with mud stains. This, in your minds, was real- live proof that you each had played one awesome football game!
The first thought in my mind was, “Yikes!”, followed by an “Ugh!”, and then, a sigh, “How in the world am I going to get all those terrible stains out?!” After taking a deep breath, and trying to change my focus from the mud-stained pants to the eager blue eyes standing before me, I proceeded to congratulate each of you for the great sportsmanlike conduct that was exhibited, and the “tough-as-nails” attitude that was displayed. I was so very proud to be the mother of such great football players! Then, I shuffled you all out, telling each of you to quickly strip down in the laundry room. Soon afterwards, I filled the washing machine with very hot water, used almost a full bottle of stain remover on the mud-covered clothes, and gave them all a heavy-duty washing. Guess what, kids? Your “uniforms are sparkly clean (with a few exceptions of soft gray stains at the knee). They’re ready for a re-match! Let game two begin. . . .
Did you like this story? Now, listen to the simple yet profound meaning behind your football game. When you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you become a beautiful child of the one true God. Rejoice in this promise! However, also know, without His grace, there is nothing good in your heart, or mine. As a matter of fact, when we listen to our flesh, we continually cover our heart in sin every single day! You know the deep muddy stains you got on your uniforms while you played? Well, when we sin, that’s what our heart looks like. Mud (sin) is caked all over it. However, sweet ones, remember there is HOPE! Just as I put your clothes through a great cleaning to get the stains out, we too have the “Great Cleanser,” our Jesus, to wash out the sins of our heart! Only by His blood, which was shed on the cross, can we be clean! And He wipes out all the stains (not leaving any dingy gray areas!) Again, realize Jesus is the source of all the good in our hearts! Do you know this truth? Do you want this truth? Let Him wash you, dear ones. He alone can make you clean and righteous before a pure and Holy God. May I, and much more importantly, may the God of all good, hear you sing with great joy and confidence the words to this beautiful song:
“What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! Precious is the flow,
That makes me white as snow.
No other fount I know.
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
One thing to remember, children, you need to always ask Him to clean your mud-caked heart. Please know your salvation is forever secure when you confess Jesus as your Savior. However, the act of confessing your sin before Him is a daily habit, because we daily sin! He waits for you to ask for cleansing, and for healing. Go to Him, sweet ones, and become “whiter than snow.”
I love you
Teaching Tools/Activities For Your Children
- Instruct your child to take a white sock outside and get it muddy. (Notice how quickly your child obeys this request!) Now, put it in a bowl of hot water and bleach, and scrub it clean. You may need to repeat this procedure depending on the muddiness of the sock.
- Compare the once muddy sock to the now white sock. Talk about how Jesus does this to our hearts through forgiveness.
- You may also illustrate “forgiveness” by allowing your children to cover their hands in finger paint. Then, have them rinse their hands off in a bowl of clean water. Watch the stains wash away!
A Prayer To Pray Over Your Children
Dear Heavenly Father,
I pray my children will fully understand the concept of forgiveness. May they know it only comes through believing in the life, death, and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ. He is the Savior that you have so graciously sent to all who believe! Thank You, O God, my Father! And thank You, O Jesus, my Friend! You became the unblemished, sacrificial Lamb who was led silently to be slaughtered—-for me. You were pierced through for my transgressions, and crushed for my iniquities. You chose to take my scourging, and my death, so that I could be healed and FREE! I praise You for this “tragic,” yet beautiful truth.
O God, open the eyes of my children’s hearts so they, too, will see this extreme and unconditional love that was poured into the divine sacrifice of your Son on the cross. Help them to realize their sin (not just the Romans and Jews of that day) caused the lashings on His back, the beatings of His body, and the crown of thorns on His head. Make them realize, they spit in His face, and drove the nails through His hands and feet. Finally, convict them of the fact, their sin in their life today made Him hang with outstretched arms two thousand years ago. And yet, dear Jesus, sweet Savior, while You hung there in death, You caused HOPE to prevail! Your love reached the ends of the earth, and Your forgiveness flowed with it. Again, thank You, O God, for this “tragic,” yet beautiful truth!
O, dear Heavenly Father, I humbly pray, my children would not reject You by being satisfied with living in the pleasures of their sin. Instead, may they fully embrace the only One who can possibly make the mud- caked human heart as white as new fallen snow.
May they desire You to graciously cleanse and purify their hearts, O Lord, setting them free from the bondage of sin as they live their life now. Also, I praise You that you have saved them from eternal separation from You in their death later; this being a tragic reality, which will fall on anyone who rejects You as the One true way to salvation. O God, I praise You again for the beautiful truth of eternal life that is imparted to all those who believe!
Scripture references in letter:
Ps. 14:2-3; Ps. 18:16-19; Acts 10:38-43; Rom. 5:8-11; Rom. 10:9; Acts 13:38-39; Is. 1:18
Scripture references in prayer:
Rom. 5:18-19; Is. 53:4-6; Matt. 26:63-68; James 4:8-10; John 3:34-36