We are individually forgiven

We are all individually forgiven

You will need

  • Poster paints. One colour will do, but the more colours the merrier! If you mix a small amount of washing up liquid into the mixture, it will be easier to wash of later! I suggest you mix it a bit thicker that you might normally!
  • A large sheet of paper or several large sheets of paper.
  • A board to put the paper on - or you could work on the floor
  • Two or three or more (see below) bowls of clean water and towels.
  • Miscellaneous newspaper to catch drips, and kitchen towels to mop up!
  • Any special facilites you might need for those people in wheelchairs

Hand prints to show our individuality


Read the story of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18.  Try to find a simple version that will make sense to your people.

Explain the basic meaning of the story - we need to forgive each other. We need to go on forgiving even though we loose count!  Try to talk about how we need not to hold grudges, stop talking to other people etc.

Explain that Jesus treats us all as individuals, so whatever we have done, Jesus forgives us as individuals.

With suitable explanations, get each person who wants to, to come up and put their finger tip, or all finger tips or their palm, into the paint, and press their mark onto the paper. Ask people NOT to remove the paint from their hands!

Explain our unique marks - but Jesus knows us all.

With suitable explanations about Jesus washing our sins away, ask some people to take round the water bowls and towels OR do it at the front.

As each person washes their hands, pray with them or get them to pray along the lines of asking for forgiveness for something, or simple thanking Jesus for forgiving them. Try to make it personal. Be discrete as required! This bit will need careful handling, and supervision depending on how you do it.

When this is all done, point out that the water is now a murky colour. The paint was on our hands but is now in the water. Explain that Jesus "takes away" our sin. Rather like the water has "taken away" our sins. Perhaps make a show of throwing the water away. Up to you.

End with perhaps a prayer for everyone, or breaking of bread.