Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Seventy Times Seven

In Seventy Times Seven, Brad learns a lesson about forgiveness. When the ball he hits breaks the window of the local ice cream shop, the shop owner, Mr. Jeffries, readily forgives the accident. He tells Brad not to worry about the broken window as he was going to put in a new one soon anyway.

But, when Brad’s friend, Doug, returns Brad’s favorite baseball hat, it has been chewed up by Doug’s dog. Brad is very upset and is not willing to forgive Doug for letting his hat get ruined. Brad wants to hold a grudge.

To teach Brad a lesson, Mr. Jeffries tells Brad’s father he wants Brad to work in the ice cream shop for two months to pay the cost of the new window. When Brad complains that Mr. Jeffries had already told him not to worry about the window, his dad tells him the Biblical parable of the unforgiving servant: The servant owes his master a lot of money, but his master forgives the debt; the servant, in turn, refuses to forgive someone who owes him a small amount of money.

When Brad doesn’t understand, his father explains: “Mr. Jeffries forgave you for breaking his very expensive sign. But then you didn’t forgive Doug for ruining your cap, which doesn’t cost nearly as much as a sign.” Brad realizes Mr. Jeffries is trying to teach him a lesson about forgiveness. Brad, then, forgives his friend, Doug. But, he still has to work at the ice cream shop to pay for the window.

The text is taken from the Children’s Bible Hour radio script broadcast. The last page in the book explains the "ABC's" of forgiveness: Ask for forgiveness, Believe Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and Choose to trust Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.

The illustrations, by John White, are very realistic and life-like.

What I Like: This story is written about an important subject: the lesson of forgiving. It’s a lesson everyone needs to learn.

What I Dislike: However, although the idea for the story is a good one, I was a bit unhappy with the way the adults went about teaching Brad a lesson. It didn’t seem fair for an adult to change his mind about forgiving Brad even if Brad wasn’t willing to forgive one of his friends. I think a better ending would have been for Brad to forgive Doug (after Brad had talked to his dad). Then, Brad could go back to Mr. Jeffries and offer to pay for the broken window, explaining to Mr. Jeffries that he now understands what it meant to forgive and be forgiven. Mr. Jeffries would then admit he was trying to teach Brad a lesson and let it go at that.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: No age group is given for this book but I would say 5-9 would be appropriate.

Publisher Info: CBH Ministries, 2009; ISBN: 9780982512029; Paperback, $10.00.

Buy now at $10.00!

Special Info: The book comes with a read-along CD.

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