Ben Harper has a song with the line "I am blessed to be a witness" (great song). That's how I feel about last night with the teens I work with (Wednesday).
We started with everyone together (middle school and high school). We sang and played Napoleon Dynamite Trivia. We laughed alot. Then we split and I just had the High School kids. I gave them 2 cards. Their instructions for the first card were as follows:
*Write the initials of someone you are angry with, disappointed in, or are holding a grudge against.
*Then List all of the things they have done to upset or disappoint you.
*Then list all of the reasons you have for not forgiving them
(as they did this, I played the song "Going Under" by Evenescence)
Then, I showed them the NOOMA DVD featuring Rob Bell called "Luggage" (powerful stuff. If you are in any kind of ministry and haven't checked out NOOMA, you should)
Then I asked them to take the 2nd card and do the following:
*Write your name at the top of the card
*Write all of the things that you have done that hurt and disappoint God and other people
*Write all the reasons that God and others shouldn’t forgive you
(while they did this, I played the song "Who Am I" by Casting Crowns)
Then I had them take both cards and do the following(I have a huge wooden cross on our wall and had a station set up with a hammer and a bowl of nails):
Fold the 2 cards together
Pray that God would forgive you as you forgive others
Nail the 2 cards (folded together to the cross)
(While they were doing this, I played the song "My Cross" by FFH and then "Amazing Love" by the Newsboys)
We also talked about the Lord's prayer as recorded in Matthew and Jesus' comments about forgiveness directly following. We talked about the fact that as a recipient of God's grace and forgiveness we have no right to withhold grace and forgiveness from anyone. We talked about the fact that our sins against God and other's sins against us are nailed to the same cross.
There were lots of tears and lots of hugs. When I ended things there was sheer silence for another 10 minutes...some kids just sitting in their chairs and some on their knees in prayer. One on his face at the foot of the cross.
"I am blessed to be a witness"