10- Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.
1. Help me, dear Father, to freely forgive
All who may seem unkind to me.
2. Help me, dear Father, to truly repent,
Making things right, and changing my ways.
Help me each day, Father, I pray;
Help me live nearer, nearer to thee.
1. Ere you left your room this morning,
Did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ, our Savior,
Did you sue for loving favor
As a shield today?
Prayer will change the night to day.
So, when life gets dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray.
2. When your heart was filled with anger,
Did you think to pray?
Did you plead for grace, my brother,
That you might forgive another
Who had crossed your way?
3. When sore trials came upon you,
Did you think to pray?
When your soul was full of sorrow,
Balm of Gilead did you borrow
At the gates of day?
*For Younger Children* Start by telling the story “Let It Go” (Friend, June 2009). Discuss the importance of forgiveness. (You may want to do the same balloon activity mentioned in the story.)
Emily burst through the front door in tears. She dropped her bag on the floor and ran to her room. Mom followed her and knocked on the bedroom door. “Em, can I come in?” she asked.
Emily answered with a quiet “yes,” and Mom opened the door.
“Is everything OK, honey?” Mom asked.
“Nothing is OK!” Emily said. “You won’t believe what happened today. Jenny handed out her birthday party invitations after school, and I was the only girl in our class who wasn’t invited. I feel horrible. I am so mad at Jenny.”
“I can imagine how that would feel,” Mom said. “What do you think you should do?”
“I’m never speaking to her again. Not in a million years,” Emily sobbed.
Mom put her arms around Emily and stroked her hair. “Do you think that is the best thing to do?” she asked.
“I don’t care,” Emily moaned. “Jenny is so mean.”
The next morning at breakfast, Emily slumped into her seat at the table. She pushed her food around the plate with her fork.
“Emily, Mom told me you didn’t get an invitation to Jenny’s party. Is that what’s bothering you?” Dad asked.
“You wouldn’t understand,” Emily said.
“Try me,” Dad said.
“It’s just that my feelings are hurt. It’s embarrassing to be left out.”
“I do understand, Em,” Dad said. “But remember that we can feel better when we forgive others. Jesus forgave everyone who offended Him. Try to forgive, and then let it go. It’s what Jesus would want you to do.”
Emily walked to school with her friend Lucy. Lucy talked about Jenny’s upcoming party all the way to school. Emily listened quietly, too embarrassed to tell her friend that she hadn’t been invited. At recess, all of the girls in Emily’s class huddled together and talked excitedly about the party. Emily wandered away from the group and sat by herself on the swings. She glared at everyone. She felt very alone.
During gym class, Emily’s friend Gina, who usually picked her first when choosing teams, chose Jenny first instead. Emily was the last to be picked. She could hardly hold back the tears, and her stomach began to hurt. She asked the teacher if she could be excused from class to go to the nurse’s office.
Later, as Emily waited for her mother to pick her up from school, she thought about what her father had said about forgiveness, and about how Jesus had forgiven everyone who had hurt or offended Him. But Emily couldn’t do that. She couldn’t forgive Jenny for making her feel this way.
Emily and Mom rode home in silence. When Mom pulled into the garage, Emily jumped out of the car and ran to her room. She stared out the window until Mom called her for dinner.
At dinner, Emily’s brother Jack talked eagerly about his day at preschool. Emily’s dad told a funny story he heard at work. Emily sat in silence, staring down at her plate. After dinner, Mom announced, “We’ll be having family home evening now.”
“But, Mom, it’s Thursday. We had family home evening on Monday,” Emily said.
“It’s an emergency session to help you with what’s been bothering you,” Mom said, smiling.
The family gathered in the living room. They sang “Help Me, Dear Father,”*and Jack said the opening prayer. Then Mom left the room and returned with four helium-filled balloons. Each balloon was attached to a colorful ribbon. Mom handed a balloon and a marker to each member of the family.
“Tonight we’re going to learn about letting go of hurt feelings,” Mom said. “I want each of you to write on your balloon things that others have done that hurt your feelings. Write down anything that is keeping you from feeling love for someone.”
After thinking for a minute, Dad began writing. Mom helped Jack write on his balloon, and then began working on her own.
Emily wrote things that were easy for her to forgive: Jack jumping on her bed, Gina losing her favorite pen. Then Emily paused. There was one thing that seemed too hard to forgive. Could she really forgive Jenny and still be her friend? Emily thought about the words of the song they had just sung: “Help me, dear Father, to freely forgive, all who may seem unkind to me.”
Emily sat quietly for a moment. Then she slowly wrote on her balloon, “Jenny didn’t invite me to her party.”
When everyone had finished, Mom said, “Now let’s say a prayer in our hearts asking Heavenly Father to help us forgive the people who have hurt our feelings. Let’s also ask Him to forgive us for things we have done that hurt others.”
As Emily finished her prayer, a feeling of warmth washed over her.
Emily smiled as they all let go of their balloons. The balloons drifted upward and bounced gently against the ceiling. Emily laughed and joked with her family as they shared a dessert and cleaned up together.
That night, as Emily climbed into bed, Mom and Dad sat down next to her. She smiled up at her parents.
“It looks like you’re feeling better,” Dad said.
“I feel good,” Emily said. “I’m still sad that I won’t be at the party with all of my friends, but I’m not angry at Jenny anymore. I know that Heavenly Father loves her just like He loves me, even though we both sometimes do things that hurt others. I think forgiveness is Heavenly Father’s way of helping us learn to love each other the way He loves us.”
1- Why was Emily sad?
2- Why did Emily come home from school early?
3- What did Emily’s family do for family home evening?
4- Did she forgive Jenny?
Testify of the importance forgiveness and the blessings we can receive.
*For Teenagers or Adults* Discuss forgiveness and the prodigal son. Also do the object lesson with rocks or books. Testify of the importance of forgiveness.
Print the letters F-O-R-G-I-V-E
Mix them up and have family members figure out what the letters spell. Once they have figured out the word, have them finish the sentence “Forgiveness is….”
Summarize the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15: 11-32.
Who are we counseled to forgive? (You may want to read D&C 64:10)
Fill a bag with rocks or books. Label each item with phrases such as: hurt, hate, revenge, resentment, anger, etc. Have each family member carry this bag. Explain that when we do not forgive others, we are carrying this heavy load. As we forgive others, our load is lighter. (We need to forgive and forget.)
Testify of the importance of forgiveness.
Sticks & Stones or Popcorn S’mores
Sticks & Stones
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup frozen orange or apple juice concentrate
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups oatmeal cereal squares (we used Quaker Oatmeal Squares)
2 cups pretzel sticks
1 1/2 cups whole almonds
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1- Heat the oven to 300º. Place the butter, juice concentrate, and sugar in a large, microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 45 seconds to melt the butter. Stir in the cinnamon.
2- Spread the oatmeal squares, pretzels, and almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toss the pieces with the melted-butter mixture to coat. Bake the mix, stirring the pieces every 10 minutes, until the mixture is dry to the touch and the nuts are lightly toasted, about 30 minutes.
3- Remove the pan from the oven, then stir in the dried fruit. Let the mix cool completely before storing it in an airtight container. Makes about 7 cups.
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
10 cups freshly popped popcorn, cooled
(do not use air-popped popcorn, as the kernels are too delicate for the hot syrup)
1 (10 1/2-ounce) package mini marshmallows
2 cups mini graham cookies (we used Teddy Grahams)
1 cup chocolate chips
1- Combine the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and cook over high heat for 5 minutes (this mixture gets very hot). Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda.
2- Combine the popcorn and the marshmallows in a large metal or heat-resistant glass bowl (not plastic; the heat could damage it). Drizzle the sugar mixture over the popcorn, then gently stir in the graham cracker cookies and chocolate chips.
3- Let the mixture set until cool enough to handle, then using buttered plastic sandwich bags on your hands, form the mixture into golf-ball-sized balls. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 30.
(Recipes taken from Familyfun.go.com)
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.