David C Cook COVID-19 Response

Middle School

Paul Finds His Mark

Lesson 13 

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Winter 2020-21

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By: RLD Editorial Team 

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February 28, 2021

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Lesson Focus:

Be willing to give others a second chance.

Bible Basis:

Acts 12:25; 13:4-5; 13; 15:36-41; 2 Timothy 4:11

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access

Summary & Links:

As they explore forgiving others, students will watch a news report about teenagers who are given a second chance.

Memory Verse:

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
—Ephesians 4:32

Step 1:

As they explore forgiving others, students will watch a news report about teenagers who are given a second chance.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access

Second chances are always something we’re thankful to receive—especially when they are unexpected. Let’s watch a video that’s all about a program in California that’s giving young criminals a second chance, even when they don’t deserve it.

Watch this video together with your students [2:54; stop at 2:20]:
Hillsborough expands intervention program that gives young first-time offenders a second chance

Discuss the following questions:

  • Why is this program so unique? What do you think usually happens to juvenile offenders after they commit a crime? (Usually a victim will press charges and the perpetrator is swiftly punished. Also, victims very seldom interact with the criminal face-to-face.)
  • Are there some situations where this type of second chance in the justice system might not be a good idea? (This program is for non-violent offenses. If someone has put others in danger, more severe punishment might be necessary. Point out that even in those cases, criminals are given a second chance after they have completed their prescribed punishment.)
  • Have you—or someone you know—ever been given a second chance? What does that feel like? (Answers will vary.)
  • Why is it so hard to forgive someone after they’ve hurt you? (People are more prone to stay angry, seek revenge, or hold onto past hurts than they are to forgive.)
  • Some people think that forgiveness must mean the perpetrator is innocent—that no wrong was ever really committed. Is that true? (When God allows you to forgive someone, it doesn’t mean that person didn’t do something wrong. It means that Jesus equips you to give them a second chance.)

Relationships are so hard sometimes! When it comes to second chances, we’re going to look at how God wants us to model His love and forgiveness toward others. The apostle Paul had firsthand experience with broken relationships. Let’s see what he said about handling them.

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:

  • Whiteboard
  • Permanent marker
  • Hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, or non-acetone nail polish remover
  • Clean, soft cloth or paper towel

Before class, be sure to try out the process that follows in the corner of a whiteboard to be sure that your whiteboard responds properly to the cleaner you have chosen. Do not use any abrasive cleaner as this will damage your whiteboard permanently. If your class is meeting online, you can use a small handheld whiteboard and hold it up in front of your camera.

We’ve been studying the importance of forgiveness today, as we have explored how John Mark, Barnabas, and Paul struggled with disappointment and broken relationships.  We all will have these difficulties in life—and Jesus wants us to forgive!

To illustrate how Jesus’ love can erase past wrongs, use this object lesson for your class.

Our grudges and past hurts are a lot like this permanent marker. When we write down someone’s sins against us with a permanent marker, it’s hard to ever wipe them away.

Write down a word like HURT, GOSSIP, ANGER on the whiteboard with a permanent marker. After a few seconds, run your finger through the word to show how it remains on the surface.

Jesus sees our sins differently. When we sin and ask forgiveness, He wipes them away. But here’s the amazing thing about God’s love. Even when we’ve written other people’s sins in permanent marker, His love can still restore our hearts.

Use a clean, soft cloth and hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, or non-acetone nail polish remover to wipe away the previously “permanent” mark.

We sometimes think that our own sins (and the sins of others) will never go away. But God’s love and forgiveness covered over them and does the impossible! Now it’s time for us to take action and pursue this forgiveness in our own lives.  

Depending on the size and logistics of your classroom, instruct students to find a quiet spot alone for a few moments, asking God to reveal to each one the areas in which they’ve been reluctant to forgive others. (If your class is meeting online, you can have students turn off their cameras and audio for this portion.) Encourage them to bring those names and situations to Jesus privately in prayer. When you’ve given them some time alone, gather everyone back together and discuss some concluding questions:

  • What step can we take this week to put God’s Word in action? (Some students might opt to write a letter or card to someone; others might memorize this week’s verse or choose to pray for their “enemies” instead of nurturing old grudges. Another action step might be seeking out an older, trusted mentor to help them deal with past hurts.)
  • What can we remember about this permanent marker? (We should avoid writing down others’ crimes on our hearts this way; instead, we should ask Jesus to erase the hurt and give us strength to forgive.)
  • What should we do if the person isn’t ready to return our love and forgiveness? (It is not in our power to change another person’s heart. We can only do our part; God is interested in how we respond and He works with the other person in His own way—it is not up to us.)

Don’t forget to take action this week! Jesus did so much for us—and now we have an opportunity to follow His example.

Close in prayer.

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