The Friend Who Forgives (Tales that Tell the Truth #6)

The Friend who Forgives Tales That Tell the Truth
The Friend Who Forgives: A True Story About How Peter Failed and Jesus Forgave by Dan DeWitt, Catalina Echeverri
Also by this author: Jesus and the Very Big Surprise: A True Story about Jesus, His Return, and How to Be Ready, Jesus and the Lions' Den: A True Story about How Daniel Points Us to Jesus, Goodbye to Goodbyes: A True Story About Jesus, Lazarus, and an Empty Tomb, God's Very Good Idea: A True Story of God's Delightfully Different Family, The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross, The Storm That Stopped, The One O'Clock Miracle, The Christmas Promise, The Prisoners, the Earthquake, and the Midnight Song
Series: Tales that Tell the Truth #6
Published by The Good Book Company on September 1, 2018
Genres: Children's, Bible Stories
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five-stars

Do you ever talk before you think? Mess up? Let others down? Thats what Peter did, again and again and again, and it led him to abandoning his best friend, Jesus.

Peter loved Jesus. He felt terrible when he pretended not to know him. He thought all was lost when Jesus died.
But Jesus is not like our other friends. He wants to forgive us when we are really sorry, even when we mess up again and again and again. And because Jesus died and rose again he can. Jesus death took the punishment for all of Peters mistakes and all our mistakes, and his resurrection showed the penalty was lifted.

After he rose from the dead, Jesus went and found Peter and forgave him, and he can do the same for us. Peter spent the rest of his life telling people that if they put their trust in Jesus, they could be forgiven tooagain and again and again.

Children know all about failing, but they dont always experience true forgiveness. This book points them to Jesus, the one who will forgive them again and again and again.

Children’s books are everywhere.

Children’s retellings of Bible stories are everywhere.

And the quality…well…in my experience, the quality ranges.

How are we supposed to sort through it all?

Early on, with my kids, I developed some guidelines for choosing a children’s Bible storybook.

  1. Is the story accurate?
  2. Is the story applicable?
  3. Is the story’s content and vocabulary age-appropriate?
  4. Are the illustrations diverse?

And whenever somebody asks me for a practical example of those four guidelines, I inevitably point them toward Tales that Tell the Truth. There are currently ten books in the series (the latest upcoming June 2020) along with a variety of supplemental materials like coloring books that accompany each volume. The series has a variety of authors with illustrator Catalina Echeverri providing a cohesive stylistic design.

The Friend who Forgives tells the story of Peter—or rather, Jesus’s friendship with Peter—focusing on Jesus’s forgiveness of Peter after Peter’s denial of Jesus. The first few panels introduce us to Peter: “He often said the wrong thing. Do you ever talk before you think? That’s what Peter did—again, and again, and again.” This really helps little ones identify with Peter and see themselves in the story.

Next, we see Peter’s friendship with Jesus. He sees Jesus do lots of things and Jesus even saves him from drowning! The book builds up Peter’s realization that Jesus is God. Peter’s denial that he would deny Jesus is a full-page emphatic I WILL NEVER DO THAT. And yet, that’s exactly what we see happen is a page-by-page escalation that builds tension and then explodes: “Peter was so sad. He knew he had failed Jesus again, and again, and again.”

This all leads to Peter’s reconciliation with Jesus after the Resurrection. It’s beautifully illustrated and wonderfully told, ending with the sentence: “And if you trust in Jesus, he will forgive you too—again, and again, and again.”

The final page also includes three paragraphs that give the Biblical foundation of the story. It’s a great way to show your little ones that these stories aren’t just stories—they’re real stories from real history that actually happened.

The Friend who Forgives is beautifully crafted, theologically rich, and absolutely captivating. It’s one of those books you’ll return to time and time again, as is the whole Tales that Tell the Truth series. There’s so much to be unpacked in the illustrations alone, from the miracles done by Jesus to the depiction of Pentecost to the Resurrection. Dan DeWitt may be better known for his academic work—he’s the director of the Center for Biblical Apologetics and Public Christianity—but this may be the best representation of his goal in that field: simple, clear, and compelling biblical teaching.

five-stars

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