This morning in Power Club Kids I taught the story of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-24) choosing to eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I performed a puppet show, complete with the happy couple and the sneaky serpent. The children sat enthralled as they watched Adam and Eve make a wrong choice, despite God’s warning to avoid the fruit of the tree. Sin entered the world, making a big ugly barrier between people and God.
I also warned the kids about behavior and the consequences of wrong behavior, specifically a one minute time-out during game time per warning issued. If there were to be a third warning it would also bring the loss of snack. The kids sat wide-eyed, not wanting to lose snack. Although they promised to obey at first, the two boys who prompted my warning quickly earned their respective three minutes of time-out, and yes, the loss of snack as well. They were bummed.
I discussed it with them in front of the entire class. Normally I handle discipline privately, but I sensed it was healthy to handle this publically, especially due to what I had in mind. I said, “You knew about the warning. Just like God warned Adam and Eve, I also warned you. I told you what you needed to do and what would happen if you chose not to do it. Yet you chose to do it anyway. So, here we are. Sad, isn’t it?” They nodded their heads in the affirmative.
I continued, “But what I haven’t told you is the good news that God has for us, and that I have for you. Grace. A free gift I would like to give to you, if only you are willing to do one thing. It may mean the return of your snack privilege.” Their ears perked up. All the kids leaned forward.
I said, “When Adam and Eve sinned, God decided to send Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, and then raise him again three days later, a winner over death and sin. And now he invites us to admit the yucky stuff we have done or that we have in our hearts and to ask Him for forgiveness, and for Jesus to come into our lives forever so we can live for him. It is kind of like when I gave the two of you a time-out. You chose to be disciplined because of your choice to do the wrong thing. That is a choice you made all on your own. But I want to give you a gift. You will still have your time-out, but if you admit the wrong thing you did and apologize to the class for acting up, then you will be given the free gift of your snack. ”
It was interesting to see the realization dawn on the children that grace is a gift to someone who does not deserve it, on the basis of the mercy of the one giving that gift, and also on the willingness of the recipient to humble themselves, admitting the wrong they have done and asking for forgiveness.
One of the great gifts we can give our families, parents and children alike, is the understanding that each of us has a responsibility to own up to our sinful choices, both in terms of attitudes and actions. Out of that climate of humility there can be birth reconciliation, grace and joy.