In Matthew 18:23-35, Jesus teaches about forgiveness in a parable. A servant received forgiveness for a large debt he owed to the king. That same servant refused to forgive another of a small debt. When the king found out about the unforgiving servant, he had this man thrown into prison. Bible story crafts about this parable teach children that God expects us to have patience and to forgive others from our heart.
Have the kids write on one side of a colored index card, "Forgiveness", and on the other side of the card write, "Patience". Help younger children print the words, or let them glue a preprinted strip of paper on the card. Staple a loop of yarn to the center top of the index card. Let the children use smaller index cards to write and illustrate their own versions of the unforgiving servant, as well as situations from their own lives when they need to forgive others. Staple a loop of yarn from each illustrated index card to the title card to form a mobile.
Hugging Forgiveness Pal
Have the kids cut a large person or imaginary creature shape from sturdy, colored poster board. Provide a variety of craft materials for the children to glue onto their "forgiveness pals". They may also use markers or paint to add features. Staple a three-foot length of ribbon onto each "shoulder area" of the creatures. The kids can place their forgiveness pal on their back, shoulder, or front and tie the ribbon arms to create a "hugging" effect.
From the Heart
In Matthew 18:35, Jesus tells us to forgive our brother from our heart. Provide mixed plaster, paints, and shallow, disposable pie pans. Have the kids pour mixed plaster into a pie pan. Then, make a drier mix of plaster and add red or pink paint to the mixture. Children may form a heart shape with the colored plaster, then press it into the center of the plaster in the pie pan. When the plaster dries, have the kids use markers to write the verse on the craft. Kids may leave their crafts in the pie pans to prevent breaking when carrying crafts home.
"Jesus the Teacher" Painted Craft
Give each child a plaster or plastic Jesus figure to paint. An alternative to purchasing the figure is to have the kids trace and cut out a simple shape of Jesus from craft foam or a foam meat tray. The kids can paint the Jesus figure or shape. The kids can also cut out a piece of sturdy paper and write the verse from Matthew 18:35, or the Scripture reference for the story from Matthew 18:23-35 on the paper. Punch a hole in a corner of the paper and thread a piece of plastic lacing through the hole. Tie the lacing around the Jesus figure or staple it to the cutout shape of Jesus.