Saturday, March 17, 2018

Believing in Grace

At church, I have been given the opportunity to work with the teenage girls of our congregation. As such, one of the things I take turns doing is teaching Sunday lessons. Since a minor stroke of genius occurred here, I decided to share it on the blog. Grace can sometimes be a tricky concept to understand in the LDS church, and so maybe someone out there will find this lesson idea (and accompanying handout I will post at the end) useful.
Introducing the Topic:
I'm going to start out my lesson with an object lesson that I'm pretty sure I found on Sugardoodle. I have bought a bounteous variety of candy and candy bars and I am going to lay them out on a table and tell the girls they are each fifty cents. Then I'm going to hand them a packet of coins to "buy" them with. Each girl will have a slightly different amount of money, but none of them will have fifty cents. The rule is that they can't share money. There has to be another way of getting to fifty cents. While they are looking in their packets of coins, I'm going to pull out some coins and lay them on the table by the candy bars. The point is for them to ask me for the money they need to make up the difference.
After everyone has their candy, we are going to dissect the heck out of this object lesson.
What do the candy bars represent?
What does the money they started with represent? (Including the shortfall.)
What does them asking me for money represent?
What does my money represent?
Why can't they share money?
Why am I so willing to give them both money and candy?
What if they were too afraid/embarrassed to ask me for money?

Read 2Nephi 4:17-21. Emphasize that Nephi wasn't a bad or wicked person and yet he still felt weighed down by sin. He chose to trust Christ, though, and that helped him feel supported in his afflictions and filled him with love. That thing that helped and supported him was grace.

It seems like grace is really easy to explain and understand when related to money. I also want to go over another great analogy for grace was written by Stephen E. Robinson (a professor at BYU that I took a New Testament class from a long time ago) called The Parable of the Bicycle. It can be found HERE. Also, if you've never read it, I highly recommend reading Believing Christ, which is the book he wrote that the story originally appears in. It is a very in-depth look at the Atonement including a whole lot of information on grace from many different angles.

Then we're going to talk about the difference in believing that Christ can help us attain salvation, and actually trusting him to make up for our shortcomings. We will probably also discuss what it means to attain perfection and also what it means to try our best to work towards it.

At the end, I'm going to send them home with a little reminder, because I truly believe that a lot of us struggle with the concept of grace - in that we don't allow ourselves to be imperfect and to need help to attain salvation. We are so hard on ourselves and we forget that Christ is there to partner with us and make up the difference.

I pieced this handout together from a few pieces of clipart I found on the web. For my class, in the blank space under the Young Women logo, I have added my signature as the "treasurer" of the bill. I removed that for the sake of posting it for the wide world.
Just right-click on the image to download it. Enjoy!

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