Theme: Mercy or Judgment?
1. James 2:13 says, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Mercy is showing compassion and love. What do you think is the difference between mercy and judgment? Can you give an example of a time when you experienced both mercy and judgment? How did it feel? What was your response?
2. In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells a story of a king. He called on his servant who owed him millions of dollars. The king said, "Pay up." But the man did not have the money. The king said, "No money? You must sell all you own to pay me back. If you still do not have enough, then you and your family must be sold as slaves." The servant fell on his knees in front of the king and begged, "Please, give me more time. I'll pay everything back." The king felt sorry for the man and showed mercy. He completely forgave all the money that was owed to him and let the servant go home. On his way home with the good news, the servant met a friend who owed him a few dollars. He grabbed his friend and demanded his money back. His friend begged for more time, but the servant threw his friend into prison. The servant received mercy, but he didn't show mercy to his friend. Amazingly, God is kind to us when we keep breaking his rules. And he hopes the same of us. God expects us to keep being kind to others even when they break the rules. Act like the king; be merciful. Think about the king’s mercy as you listen to today’s program.
“Mercy triumphs over judgment”
In this episode, Liz enforces a lot of rules without showing mercy. Liz is strict and is not interested in trying to understand or listen to others. Liz takes care of the rules, but forgets about showing love.
When others hurt you, you may want to hurt them back. When others break the rules, you may want them to be punished. But what if God did that with you? God has been very merciful to you. God forgives your sins when you ask forgiveness, and he provides you with food, shelter, work, family, and friends everyday (Acts 14:17). God's judgment of our sin is death, but God showed his incredible mercy when he sent his son, Jesus Christ, who triumphed over that judgment (Romans 3:9-31).
Want to dig deeper and learn more about showing mercy? Read Luke 6. Jesus encounters the Pharisees, a group of Jewish men who were very strict about rules. Notice how he teaches them how to show mercy.
How many times are you supposed to forgive someone? To start out the story of the unmerciful servant , Jesus told his disciples that they should, forgive, not just seven times (which already seems like a lot!), but seventy-times seven (which basically meant forever!). Make yourself a Forgiveness Reminder Jar. On the top of a baby food jar or other small clear container, glue seven grains of rice. This is how many times we think we should forgive someone. Then fill the jar to the top with rice and put the top on. Can you count how many grains of rice are in the jar? This reminds you of how many times God has forgiven you, and how often you are to forgive others. Keep the jar where the whole family can see it.