By Greg Johnson
Our family is a week or so away from going on a campout together and you are really looking forward to it. Dad borrows a propane stove, some cots and other gear, but he does something really cool: he buys this huge six-person tent! When he brings it home and takes it out of the box, he suggests we all try to put it up in the side yard. After it is up, it looks great. Then Dad says that maybe a few of us should test it out–tonight!
After a fun night out in the tent, everyone knows that this year’s camping trip is going to be the best. Dad leaves the tent up to air out for a few days before it is packed up and put with the other camping gear.
One night, while everyone sleeps, the unthinkable happens: someone steals the tent. We get up in the morning and it is gone! And we are leaving for our camping trip the next day. Talk about major disappointment... and major anger. Everyone is pretty hacked off that someone would actually steal a tent right out of someone’s yard.
Dad works all day trying to round up another tent from some of his buddies. Finally, he finds three two-person pup tents that will hold the whole family. Well, it turns out to be a fun trip, but everyone is still mad that we can’t use the nice, big tent–especially you!
Two weeks later there’s a knock on our door. As Dad opens it, you and Mom are standing next to him. It’s a teenager and his dad. The teenager starts talking and admits that he took our tent... and sold it. He can’t pay us back yet, but will as soon as he can earn the money. The guy’s dad apologizes and says he’ll make sure his son follows through.
Questions to Think On
• What would you be thinking about the teenage kid if this happened to you?
• How easy would it be for you to forgive him?
• How easy is it for you to forget about another’s wrongdoing after he or she apologizes?
• Mom and Dad: Why is forgiveness so important? What can unforgiveness do to you?
What Does God Have to Say?
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven time?”
Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.