Make 2 paper airplanes that are exactly the same. Ahead of time, tape a penny inside one of the airplanes. Tell the children you are going to demonstrate how well the airplanes fly. Fly the first plane (without the penny). Talk about how far and graceful it flies. Then fly the second airplane with the penny taped inside of it. Play it up and act like you don't know what is wrong. They both look the same - why aren't they flying the same? Have the children examine both of the planes and try flying them until they find the penny.
The airplanes are like us and the penny is when we hold a grudge. A grudge is when we hold bad feelings inside of us because something someone did or said to us. These feelings can weigh us down and keep us from flying high.
We must learn to forgive just as Jesus and Heavenly Father forgive us.
“A person’s ability to forgive is in proportion to the greatness of his soul...An unresolved grudge gnaws at our hearts, disturbs our peace, and is a burden we would well be rid of...Forgiving relieves us of a lingering uneasiness inside ourselves. Oh, what easing of our relationships with loved ones, and with others also, with a lightening of our own lives, as we learn to forgive!..How can we expect forgiveness if we don’t forgive?” Richard L. Evans,
Colossians 3:13 "Forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6:14–15.)
The Savior has offered to all of us a precious peace through His Atonement, but this can come only as we are willing to cast out negative feelings of anger, spite, or revenge. For all of us who forgive “those who trespass against us.”
A spirit of forgiveness and an attitude of love and compassion toward those who may have wronged us is of the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Each of us has need of this spirit...The Lord taught it in the time of his agony on the cross of Calvary, with vile and hateful accusers before him, those who had brought him to this terrible crucifixion, he cried out, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ (Luke 23:34.)’ None of us is called on to forgive so generously, but each of us is under a divinely spoken obligation to reach out with pardon and mercy.” President Gordon B. Hinckley,
Take turns giving examples of situations of forgiveness. You may need to come up with some scenarios to help younger children grasp the concept of holding bad feelings in and then forgiving. My children love charades and pictionary. You can draw and act out the situations.
There is an amazing 8 minute video about a man who forgives the teenager who killed his wife and two children while driving under the influence. I cried through the whole thing. Click HERE to go to the YouTube page to view it.
Write in your journal a time when it was hard to forgive someone and how you felt after you forgave them. Is there someone right now you need to forgive? How can Jesus help us forgive more freely?
Either before or after the lesson, have everyone make paper airplanes. Have a contest to see whose plane can fly the farthest. Try different designs. Who doesn't love paper airplanes!!