Forgiveness Through a Child’s Eyes by Peggy Webb

One of my greatest joys is teaching Sunday School to children, ages two to six. No matter what topic I choose, I learn more than I teach. Why? Because I always come away from the lesson with an innocent child’s perspective throwing a spotlight on scripture, illuminating it in a vastly different way.  

Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

Children never get bogged down in messy and complicated details. They don’t agonize over nuance and dither over meaning. They don’t race off to consult several friends in order to make up their minds. When you tell them something, they immediately see the big picture. Whole and perfect. Plain and simple. They have no trouble figuring out how a certain scripture applies to their lives or imagining a Biblical concept in a modern world.  They know. Immediately and without angst.

Last Sunday I taught forgiveness to my Sunday School angels. A big concept for a young mind. In order to teach forgiveness, we had to talk about sin.

Me, a teacher of undisclosed age: What is sin?

Boone, an adorable five-year-old: When you do something bad.

 How simple is that? I then asked the children to imagine their mom had packed their favorite cookie for school lunch.

Me, a not-so-adorable older woman: Is stealing bad?

Boone, the little Einstein: Yes.

Me: What would you do if another little boy in your class stole your cookie?

Boone: I’d be mad!

Me: Being angry is a normal reaction when someone does something bad to you. But what would you do if the little boy came over and told you he was sorry?

Boone: I’d still be mad.

Me: Jesus says we should forgive. Do you know what that means?

Boone:  God won’t like it?

Me: God tells us to stop being mad at someone who did a bad thing to us. He wants us to choose to throw our anger or our hurt away. He wants us to be nice and kind to everybody, even the one who did a bad thing to us. Let’s read what the Bible says about forgiveness.

Using the children’s Bible, I read the story of Peter asking Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven, but seven times seventy.”

Me: God wants you to forgive seven times seventy. That’s a big number. More than you’d want to count.

Boone: Okay. Then are we done?

Wow! What a perfectly normal human reaction. Wouldn’t we love to get by with doing the minimum God asks of us, then go back to being mad or nursing our hurt or crying in a corner? “Well, I did what the Bible said, and now I’m done. I can go back to doing what want.”

Boone’s question led to an interesting discussion about the meaning of seventy times seven. It’s such a big number, it would be silly to keep count. It’s an exaggeration of Peter’s question, making the point that our capacity to forgive should be endless. Seven, being the number that means completeness or perfection, reminds us to strive to be perfect, just as Jesus Christ was perfect. 

Five-year-old Boone nodded sagely, said, “Okay,” then hopped up from the kiddie table to ride Pete, the antique rocking horse. After the children took turns riding Pete, the five-year-olds sang “Jesus Loves Me,” while adorable two-year-old Hank, Boone’s little brother, marched around the room plucking a plastic ukelele and singing, “Dee and wi,” his version of “Deep and Wide.” 

Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

God is good.


About Vicki Hinze

USA Today Bestselling and Award-Winning Author of 50+ books, short stories/novellas and hundreds of articles. Published in as many as 63 countries and recognized by Who's Who in the World as an author and an educator. Former featured Columnist for Social-IN Worldwide Network and Book Fun Magazine. Sponsor/Founder of Vicki's latest novels are: in the Philanthropists series: The Guardian. In the StormWatch series, Deep Freeze. FMI visit
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