April: Loving Hearts and Forgiveness
Every day, we talk with God in different ways. Sometimes we pray with words. Sometimes we sing or listen to music. Sometimes we get out paints and crayons and create many-colored prayers. Colors are like a different language we can all speak even when we have no words. God understands. At other times, we make silence. We turn off the computer and our phones and stop talking for awhile. Then we practice listening. Sometimes we read stories from the Bible and we wonder about what God might be telling us. Sometimes we just sit and rest in the quiet.
As we continue to journey towards Easter and the celebration of new life in Christ Jesus, we take time to remember what Jesus taught to his disciples and all those who would listen. In the letter from James, we are reminded how Jesus wants us to treat one another. He says that it isn’t always easy to live together in a family at home or at church. So if something happens to make us angry, pause for a minute and listen before you talk. It’s good to slow down, to stop and think. When we listen to others, we learn about them. We learn why they do or say certain things.
Jesus tells us to love all people. We meet many different people each day. People of all different colors. People of different shapes and sizes. People of different religions. People who should not be hurt because of who they love. Jesus tells us to be kind. To say nice things to others. To accept each person for who they are. Being a friend is the easiest way to help others. When we treat others with kindness and love, we follow Jesus in transforming our world into God’s dream!
Adapted from “Growing in God’s Love: A Story Bible”
Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as they Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.
- When we make a wrong decision or hurt someone, why is it important to forgive and ask for forgiveness?
- What do you see happening around you that helps others?
- What do you see happening around you that hurts others?
- Who are some people you know who need your listening ear and your acts of kindness and love?
Family Activity: Forgiving Hearts
How to make the game: Cut a heart shape from a piece of paper and label it like the image. Have a separate piece of paper with the names of your family members.
How to play: During the month, sit down as a family and talk about your day. If there was something that made you sad or angry, talk about it with each other. This game is great to help your children learn how to communicate their feelings. It is also a great way to help siblings work through an argument. The heart gives an opportunity to choose a response. Throughout the month, tally everyone’s totals on the separate sheet of paper.
Jesus, you are our model of forgiveness,
when someone asked you how many times we should forgive others,
you said seventy times seven.
Help us to forgive again and again.
May we not hold grudges and learn to let go of hate.
We will do this in your name with your help.
Tricia Guerrero (right)
Director of Children and Youth Ministries
(310) 393-8258 ext. 104
Jamie Jones (left)
Children and Family Ministry Intern