Peter thought he was being generous when he offered to forgive people seven times, but Jesus requires us to forgive every single time someone hurts or disappoints us. This object lesson helps participants to understand that the process of forgiving is not a one-time event.
- Children, Youth, Adults
- Matthew 18:21-22. NKJV
- Romans 5:8
- Trick candles – the ones that relight after you blow them out (8-12)
- Something to stick the candles in to make them stand upright (like the foam for artificial plant arrangement)
- Bowl or cup with water in it
- Stick the candles into the foam or other material.
- Have the candles and your other supplies ready in the teaching area.
- Practice the script.
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
- “Sometimes people hurt or disappoint us, and we want to get even with them. But God tells us that we should forgive them every time – even when they hurt us over and over again.” (Have a volunteer read Matthew 18:21-22. NKJV)
- “Did you hear that? Jesus said we have to forgive 70 times 7 times! That’s 490 times!”
- “But Jesus isn’t just saying we need to forgive 490 times…He’s really saying we need to forgive as many times as it takes…every single time.”
- “It’s like these candles.” (Light the candles.)
- “The candles represent our heart; the flames represent the hurt or disappointment we experience when others mistreat us.” (Invite a volunteer to blow them all out. Because they are trick candles, the flames will reappear. Have the volunteer blow them out again. Repeat this process several times before extinguishing the candles in water.)
- “Blowing out the flames is like the act of forgiveness.”
- “Sometimes once isn’t enough.”
- “Sometimes the hurt and disappointment keep flaring up in our hearts.”
- “Sometimes the person who hurt us does it again and again and again.”
- “If we don’t blow out the flames by forgiving, the fire can get out of control and turn into bitterness, rage, depression or despair.”
- “Jesus wants us to forgive each and every time someone hurts us and every time the painful memories of that hurt come back, because it prevents the fire from taking over.”
- “It’s not because the other person deserves forgiveness…often, they don’t.”
- “It’s because Jesus doesn’t want the pain to control our lives.”
- “And we should always remember that Jesus set the example for us.”
- “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
- “He forgave us of all the bad things we’ve ever done or will ever do.”
- “And if He can forgive us, we should be willing to follow Him by forgiving those who hurt us.”
- “People will know you are a follower of Jesus when they see you doing what your Leader does.”