Jesus says “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” Matthew 5: 23-24. Therefore if we are going to live our lives as Christians working to solve problems of injustice and war we must begin with reconciling our tensions at home. Furthermore, families are transformative. Pope John Paul said “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live”. A family working for peace, starting with forgiveness in the world is a great a testimony to peace when coupled with working for peace in the world.
For younger children
Together look at the Our Father (Link to the prayer here). Take the line “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” Write this out on a large piece of paper (Get creative - old cereal boxes/ pizza boxes/ any boxed food containers make great posters). Discuss with your child what it means the more we forgive the more we are able to be forgiven by God. Try and talk about what in your family needs forgiveness and how (although it is hard) we can think of situation where we need to forgive others – maybe at school, in the family or with a friend. Light a candle and pray the words on your poster together. Try and return to this poster and pray together every other week.
As they get older
There are so many amazing examples of peace makers and those who give their lives to peace efforts. Reading the story of a life of a peace activist can be a fun way of letting your family learn more about a peace and the importance of forgiveness.
Examples of people working for peace: Pat Gaffney of Pax Christi, Sophie Shol, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa (her story of the children in Albani with the cease fire is a particularly interesting one). A quick google search of any of these people gives you stories of their works for peace. What three pictures would you use to explain their stories?
See if your family can design (using only paper and pen) and then pitch to each other your perfect peace making App! What features would it have? How does it help you to forgive others? How does it encourage you to forgive?