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ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

Lesson 7: God is Merciful

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This Sunday school lesson will teach children about God’s mercy and why we should be merciful to others.
by Leah Pittsigner

TOPICS

Character of God, Knowing God, Mercy

AS KIDS ARRIVE (10 minutes)

Sticky Note Mercy (Activity) Click here

OPENING PRAYER AND PRAISE (5 minutes)

Further info? Click here

MEMORY WORK (12 minutes)

"You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy." Micah 7:18b NIV
Prepare ahead of time by writing each word of the verse on a separate index card. Hide the cards throughout the classroom. Read the verse out loud at least twice with the children before allowing them to search for the cards. Ask them to work together to put the cards in order. Once the verse is complete, and if time allows, take out words one at a time and ask for volunteers to complete the verse.

SCRIPTURE READING AND DISCUSSION (15 minutes)

Introduction:
Tell the children about a time when you were given mercy. Emphasize that a punishment was deserved, but the person in authority chose to give mercy instead. Ask for volunteers to share about a time when they did something wrong and were given a second chance instead of a punishment. Help the children understand that God expects us to give mercy to others because he is so extraordinarily merciful to us.

Read Micah 7:18 (God is incomparably merciful)
Read the passage out loud to the class. Then ask the children to state the words that describe God (merciful, forgiving, delightful, etc). Emphasize that God’s mercy is not given out of obligation but because He “delights” in giving second chances. We should strive to be merciful to others because God is merciful to us.

Discussion Questions:
1. What is mercy? (The withholding of a deserved punishment.)
2. How is God’s view of mercy different than our “human” view of mercy? (He loves to give mercy, He doesn’t stay angry forever, He continuously forgives, etc.)

Read Ephesians 2:4-5 (Jesus is God’s greatest display of mercy)
Ask for a volunteer to read the verses and comment on the main idea (God’s rich mercy gave us Christ so we can be saved). Talk about the word “rich” to emphasize the endless, extraordinary reality of God’s mercy, as displayed through His plan for salvation.

Discussion Questions:
1. How are we made “alive in Christ”? (Through repentance of sins and believing in Jesus as God’s Son.)
2. How can we be “rich in mercy” as believers? (Forgiving when we want to hate, extending love instead of revenge, telling others about Jesus, etc.)

Read 1 Timothy 1:15-16 (God’s mercy to us will draw others to Him)

Introduce the passage by explaining that Paul, who had once sought Christians to kill them and put them in jail, is the author of this letter. Ask for a new volunteer to read the verses and then tell the children to put their fingers on the words “I am the worst” in verse 15. Explain that God’s mercy had so completely changed Paul’s life that he thought of himself as the worst sinner in the world! Tell the class that humility is a product of understanding and thankfully receiving God’s mercy in our lives.

Discussion Questions:
1. What is the reason for God’s mercy on Paul? (That others would see Christ’s patience and also want to believe.)
2. In what specific ways has God shown you mercy? (Protection from a bad decision, the opportunity to receive salvation, forgiveness of our sins, etc.)
3. Why should we give mercy to others? (Because God gives us endless mercy!)

Conclusion:
God is extremely merciful with us, as evidenced through the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus. We should follow God’s example and give mercy to others. Also, extending mercy in humble obedience has the power to draw others into a relationship with Christ.

CLASS EXERCISE (15 minutes)

Rich in Mercy (Craft) Click here

ALTERNATE CLASS EXERCISE (15 minutes)

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Skit) Click here

APPLICATION (5 minutes)

Help the children evaluate their willingness to give mercy to others by thinking about the following questions:
1. How does it feel to receive mercy?
2. How does it feel to refuse giving mercy to someone else?
3. When was the last time I gave mercy to another person?
4. What can I do to have a more merciful heart?

Support the children by admitting that mercy is challenging because we are imperfect and sinful. However, when we pray, read the Bible, and rely on God’s guidance, we will be better equipped and have an increasing desire to extend mercy to others.

NEXT WEEK

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CLOSING PRAYER (2 minutes)

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TAKE HOME PAGE

Give one copy to each child at the end of the class to take home. Click here for NIV or KJV [PDF]