I took them outside and gave each a piece of chalk. I told them to mark out 490 lines, in sets of five. This would be their punishment. “For each one,” I added, “I want you to say, either out loud or in your head, ‘I forgive you.’”
At first they objected, but I assured them they wouldn’t be coming inside until they’d done the project. “Why 490?” my 12-year-old asked.
“I’ll tell you when you’re finished,” I said and went back inside.
I pulled up “Seventy times seven,” from the Gospel of Matthew, 18:21-22. “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?”
It takes a while to draw 490 lines, but when they finished, I showed them the passage. After they rolled their eyes, it was clear they both felt better about each other.
With the bible as inspiration, Sherry gave her children a lesson in forgiveness. The next day she brought out a jar and 490 pennies saying, “When you forgive someone in this family, put a penny in the jar.” Many households use the jar system to illustrate the rewards that can be earned by good behavior. Does yours?
BONUS POLL: David Ives gave us a review for the new “Captain America: Civil War”:
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