FORGIVE US, GOD (words by Walter Farquharson)                                        

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Verses 1 and 1a played on piano by Ron Klusmeier.

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Forgive me, God, in Jesus’ name, for bad things that I do,
for all the ways I hurt my friends and so cause hurt for you.

Sometimes I’m mean, sometimes I lie,
I shove my friends around.
My ugly words and nasty looks
push others to the ground.
Sometimes I’m greedy and won’t share
the good things that are mine.
I act like I’m the only one
who life should treat just fine.

Forgive me, God, in Jesus’ name, for bad things that I do,
for all the ways I hurt my friends and so cause hurt for you.

Sometimes I close my eyes up tight
and I refuse to see
the friends around who need my help,
who count on love from me.
Sometimes we do not want to hear
about the love you give.
It upsets us and questions us
about the ways we live.

Forgive us, God, in Jesus’ name, for bad things that we do,
Create clean hearts within us all, and your whole world renew.

We know that Jesus speaks to us
and gifts us with your name.
We’re made a family of your love,
so nothing stays the same.

Forgive us, God, in Jesus’ name, for bad things that we do,
for all the ways we hurt our friends and so cause hurt for you.

Author / Composer Comments

From Ron & Walter’s “JUST LIKE SALT” collection:

We often hurt ourselves and one another through insensitive actions. God declares this to be offensive behaviour. This song is a prayer to help children bring to God their feelings of alienation. It is a prayer of confession and a plea for forgiveness, beginning with thoughts of an individual nature, and ending with a more corporate petition (the refrain words change from “me” to “us”).

Many adults choose not to talk about the realities of alienation and fragmentation with children. Sin is very seldom mentioned in contemporary religious songs for children. Yet by the time they reach their teenage years (if not before), large numbers of young people will have been or will be in serious crises where they see themselves as unclean, unworthy, unacceptable human beings. Naive pictures adults perceive of untroubled, carefree childhood are not useful tools for coping or helping.

This song identifies sin in an inclusive way so that it isn’t specifically identified with sexual activity, the abuse of drugs or alcohol, or rebellion against parental and/or school authority. Sin is whatever rejects, or causes one to reject, one’s own worth as a person created in God’s image. It is whatever tramples over others or destroys their worth in their own eyes. Sin treats others as cheap, expendable, worthless. Sin misuses and abuses creation’s gifts. We identify and name sin in order to break its power over us.

Read the story of the woman condemned to die for her sin. Jesus asked who was without sin (John 8:1-11). Naming the particular type of sin isn’t necessarily important for children to be able to understand the story. The point was that the woman was powerless and without friends, and Jesus gave her another chance.

How often can we forgive? Peter was going to be generous. Jesus told him to quit keeping score. (Matthew 18:21-22)

...Jesus taught us how to pray: “Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” (Matthew 6:7-15)

...Jesus told a story about a forgiving parent. (Luke 15:11-24)

...Jesus also told a story about a person who didn’t pass on the forgiveness that had been received. (Matthew 18:23-25)

Even though we forgive people, we may not be able to continue to live with them in family or community. An integral part of the forgiveness process may be ‘letting go’ and children may have a hard time understanding this concept.

Forgiving doesn’t mean putting oneself back into a position where the same mistreatment is likely to be repeated. Where family breakdown has occurred, children may need to know themselves as forgiven by people on both sides of the breakdown but, more likely, they will need help learning to forgive.

God offers a forgiving love and this song directs us to that love. God speaks to us through Jesus whose life was an example of offered and freeing forgiveness. We are drawn into a faith community that knows it lives by being forgiven and that practices lively and life-giving forgiveness.

Such forgiveness seeks to include those shut out and to free those who are trapped and imprisoned. Because we know ourselves as accepted, included, and liberated, we hope and work for the reconciliation and enabling of others. Freed from sin’s power, we live new lives of capability and creativity.

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