"Forgiveness is a funny thing, it warms the heart and cools the sting." William Arthur Ward
Zacchaeus was a little man. He was a tax collector and had become rich by making others pay lots of money in taxes to the Romans and to him. He didn’t have many friends.
When Zacchaeus heard Jesus was in town, he wanted to see him. But Zacchaeus was short, and Jesus was always surrounded by a crowd. So, Zacchaeus decided to run ahead of the crowd and climb a sycamore tree.
From there he could watch for Jesus. As Jesus drew closer, he held his breath excitedly until Jesus stopped right beneath his tree. Jesus looked straight up at him! “Zacchaeus,” said Jesus with a smile, “come on down. I want to stay at your house today!”
Zacchaeus hopped down. “You are welcome at my house, Jesus,” he said with a huge grin. But others grumbled, muttering to each other. “Why does Jesus want to go home with the rich, cheating tax collector? He isn’t good enough for Jesus to come and stay at his house.” Zacchaeus heard what the people were saying about him, and he wanted to put things right. He turned to Jesus and said, “Master, here and now, I promise to give half of my money to the poor. If I have cheated anyone in taxes, I will pay them back four times that amount.”
Zacchaeus wanted to turn over a new leaf because Jesus believed that everyone deserved a new start and now Zacchaeus believed it too.
Talk about Forgiveness together...
Everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of being human. Sometimes our mistakes hurt others and then we need to say sorry. Sometimes mistakes made by other people hurt us. When this happens, we need to be able to forgive. Forgiveness can be difficult and costly but without it a new start is impossible.
Talk together about:
-A time when you needed to say sorry.
-A time you didn’t say sorry but wish you had.
-A time when you had to forgive someone who had hurt or upset you.
-How it feels when you are given a new start because someone has forgiven you.