David C Cook COVID-19 Response

High School

Learning to Say Sorry

Lesson 7 

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Fall 2021

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By: RLD Editorial Team 

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October 17, 2021

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Lesson Focus:

Sin alienates, while Jesus Christ reconciles.

Bible Basis:

Genesis 4:1-15; Romans 5:10, 18-19; Col 1:19-22

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access
  • Optional: smart phones (for students to read the article individually or in small groups)

Summary & Links:

As they read an article about a country trying to make amends for past crimes, students will consider what is required for reconciliation.

Memory Verse:

We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
—2 Corinthians 5:20b

Step 1:

As they read an article about a country trying to make amends for past crimes, students will consider what is required for reconciliation.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access
  • Optional: smart phones (for students to read the article individually or in small groups)

In recent years, countries such as America, Canada, and Australia have been confronting the sins of their past, particularly their treatment of indigenous people. This year, the government of Australia returned some areas of land that had been taken from indigenous people in their country.

Read this article to your teens (or invite students to read it individually or in small groups):
Daintree: World Heritage rainforest handed back to Aboriginal owners

Historically, the Australian government took the land belonging to indigenous people, leaving people homeless and displaced. While the process of reconciliation has begun, the Australian government had to acknowledge their mistakes for this process to begin.

  • How do you imagine it felt to be the government trying to make amends for their poor treatment of others? To be an indigenous Australian receiving these amends? (Accept all reasonable answers. For the government, there might be shame for the past, hope for the future. Some students may comment that it is unfair that the government has to apologize for the past government’s wrongs. Indigenous Australians may have felt thankful or dignified; perhaps others felt it is too little too late.)
  • What do you think about making amends or an apology for something that happened in the past? (Accept all reasonable answers. Consider the value in speaking the words of apology rather than ignoring the wrongs. Consider that understanding and healing might be a result of saying sorry, even if belatedly.) 
  • Is an apology all that is needed to reconcile these people to one another? What else might be needed? (Accept all reasonable answers. While a verbal apology is good start, actions speak louder than words. Taking action to amend for the suffering and ensuring equal treatment now and in the future is the work of true reconciliation.)

Reconciliation is not easy, but it is worth it. Whether as a country or an individual, where there is brokenness and alienation, we ought to seek wholeness and reconciliation. This is true on a spiritual level as well. The chasm our sin creates between us and God is so big, we can’t possibly bridge it with our words or actions. But, thankfully through Jesus, God extends reconciliation. 

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • None

God has reconciled us to Himself once and for all through Jesus. Still, the practices of confession and forgiveness are important to our daily lives, to help maintain healthy relationships with God and others. Just as God seeks reconciliation with us, so we ought to do with others.

Consider whether there is someone in your life with whom you need to reconcile. Perhaps someone wronged you, or you wronged someone, and there’s a gap between you that has been left unbridged—a tension where you would like there to be peace. It might be a complicated, long-term situation, or it might be the hurtful words exchanged in the car this morning, never apologized for, left in the air to fester.

  • What motivates us to hold grudges or keep from apologizing? (Accept all reasonable answers. Reaching out can be humbling, or not work out the way we would hope. It might feel easier to not deal with the person or issue, or we want to feel justified on our side. Sometimes our anger is just the stronger emotion.)
  • What motivates you to build a bridge and reconcile? (Accept all reasonable answers. It could be as simple as missing your friend, or understanding that life is easier and/or better without carrying around the baggage. Maybe a near-tragedy puts things in perspective. Maybe someone else’s example inspires you.)
  • What would be needed for reconciliation in your particular situation? (Accept all reasonable answers. For some it would be as simple as saying “I’m sorry.” Or extending an invitation to someone they’ve forgiven in their heart. For others, more work would be needed for true reconciliation—perhaps initiating small but meaningful actions or simple words will move things forward. Beginning with prayer is always the best place to start.)

Challenge your students to consider whether there is a step they can take toward reconciliation this week. It may be a simple conversation, or it may start just with God as a prayer. Reconciliation may come easily, or you may just gain a little ground. Whatever happens, know that you are working toward the wholeness that God desires for all of us, as He demonstrated through Jesus.

Close in prayer.

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