If we don't teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to.

Because GOD IS MERCIFUL, He forgives me when I ask.

Preparation: There are two extremes when it comes to extending mercy to our children.
One extreme is to fear mercy. Those in this category don't want their kids to think that they can avoid consequences for their poor choices. By showing mercy, these parents fear their kids won't learn responsibility, so they rarely, if ever, show mercy.

The other extreme is fear of discipline and accountability. These parents don't want their kids growing up paranoid of failure. They are afraid of burdening them, so they rarely, if ever, discipline their children.

Most of us lean to one extreme or the other. We are All imperfect examples of what God's Mercy really is. Only God's Mercy completely and totally forgives. Only God's Mercy recognizes when it's best to erase the consequences and when it's merciful to let the consequences stand. Only God's mercy can perfectly discipline.

Teach your child about God's Mercy (and why it matters), and you will help them bask in the freedom of obedience to His Word! Today's "Mercy Activity" can provide a wonderful teaching tool regarding God's Mercy.

Read the Bible Memory Verse below.

For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous
in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. (Psalms 86:5)
Mercy is when someone doesn't make you suffer the consequences you deserve.

Listen to this story about a criminal named Sam Brown and what happened to him when it was time to pay for his crimes:

Sam Brown trembled with fear. Everyone knew that the judge he stood before was the toughest and fairest judge in the land. And for Sam, this spelled doom. He knew he deserved the harshest penalty for there was no doubt about his guilt.

The judge's voice was strong and solemn. "You have been found guilty," he pronounced to the prisoner as well as to the overflowing court room. Everyone held their breath, waiting for what they were sure would come next. Sam's crimes deserved life in "The Pit," a horrible place where no one ever left alive. Sam hung his head.

Suddenly to everyone's shock, the judge did something that had never been done before. He said to the prisoner, "Justice must be served. You are guilty. There is no reason to love you. Nevertheless, I do love you, in spite of yourself. And because of my love for you, I have decided to take your place. You are free, Sam Brown. You can go now. Don't do this again." The judge pounded his gavel. The courtroom was silent.

After a stunned moment, courtroom guards unlocked the shackles that secured Sam. The judge took off his judge's robe and snapped the irons on his wrists and ankles. As the judge was led away to "The Pit," tears of gratitude flowed down Sam's cheeks. He ran up to the judge, pushing his way through the crowd. "Thank you!" he cried out, "Thank you! I love you Dad, I love you!"

The judge loved Sam, but his love could not erase the consequences for Sam's actions. The price had to be paid or the judge would not be just.
  • How did the judge show mercy to Sam? (He paid the price in Sam's place.)
  • Why do you think he did it? (He loved Sam.)

Read Ephesians 2:4-5.
  • What is God rich in? (Mercy)
  • What is God great in? (Love for us)
  • What did we do to deserve God's mercy and love? (We do not deserve God's mercy and love. We are sinners. His mercy and love are so great that they extend to everyone, even sinners.)
  • How many of your sins has God's mercy and love covered? (God knows and has forgiven all the sins of your past and all the sins you will do in the future.)

There is no greater mercy than God's mercy!

Because God is Merciful, He suffered and paid for your sins. You don't have to worry about them.

Thank God for showing compassion on you even when you don't deserve it. Ask Him to help you show mercy to someone who is difficult to love even when you don't think they deserve it.

Using a piece of card stock or card board, cut out a cross. Take several different colors of construction paper and tear them into small pieces--but big enough to write a word on the back side. (You can use white paper and have the kids color the pieces themselves if you don't have construction paper). Write the things you need mercy for on the back side of some of the papers. Now glue them, back side down, to the cross until it looks like a stained glass cross. Hang it in your room as a reminder of God's mercy. You could write 1 John 1:9 at the bottom of the cross if you like! His mercy has taken away our sins and made something beautiful in our lives! This cross is a picture of what Jesus has forgiven about you, so that you can forgive and be merciful to others.

adapted from Discover God 4 Kids
A Sample Prayer to Conclude Your Time
Dear God,
We praise You for being a Merciful Judge Who also became our Gracious Savior. In our lives there is no way to deserve your mercy or give reason for your love. Your mercy enables us to break free from the habits of sin, and experience joy, peace, and fulfillment in life. Help us to be merciful towards those who harm us. Help us also to share about Your Mercy and Grace to those lost in sin.
In Jesus' Name we pray, Amen.