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.)
- 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!
WHY DOES THIS MATTER:
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.