Free Children's Sermons
We Can Change
September 28, 2014
Over a hundred years ago a man named Victor Hugo wrote a story he called Les Miserables, which means “people who suffer.” He felt sorry for people who were looked down on because they were poor or did not have any power. The person in his book who was suffering was a man named John.
As the story begins, John has just come out of prison. He had been there since he was caught stealing bread because he was starving. He suffered a lot in prison and had become a very mean man. Because he had been in prison, people looked down on him and would not give him a job. Starving, he stopped at the house of a priest to ask for food. The priest was a very kind man who not only gave him a meal, but gave him a bed to sleep in that night.
During the night, John stole all the priest’s silver tableware and started to leave. When the priest awoke and found him stealing his silver, John knocked him down and ran away with it. Later the police caught John and brought him back to the priest. “This man said you gave him this silver ware. Is that true?” they asked. John was sure the priest would say he had lied, but could not believe what the priest said instead. “Oh yes, I gave it to him and I am glad you brought him back because he forgot to take my silver candlesticks when he left,” and the priest opened the bag, put the candlesticks in it and handed it to John.
The police let John go. The priest told John to use the silver to make himself a new life, and then blessed him and sent John on his way. John thought a long time about how kind and loving the priest had been to him and because of the priest’s forgiveness and understanding, John became a new person. He became a good and loving man, helping others become better as well, by giving them jobs and encouraging them to be honest and hard working.
In order to do this, however, John had to change his name and pretend to be someone else. A man who recognized him from prison tried many times throughout the story to catch John and to put him back in prison for lying about who he was. At the end of the book, John has a chance to escape, but to save his daughter and her friend he surrenders to the man. This time the man begins to understand what a good person John has become and he lets him go.
Both John and the man who was chasing him changed. The priest’s kindness changed John and John’s kindness made the man who was chasing him understand what love and forgiveness was. In Matthew 21:23-32 Jesus reminds us it is never too late to change and to remember we are God’s children. Think of how you might change the ways you treat others from selfish ways to more loving ways.
Let’s pray: Loving, forgiving God, help us to change the ways we live into ways that show we are your children. We pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.