High Voltage Elementary: Average Pete

Lesson 4: How Many Times?

Peter and the disciples were with Jesus as He was teaching on “Forgiveness” one day. Peter thought about it, then asked Jesus a very serious question. “How many times do I have to forgive someone when they hurt me?” That is a question that most of us have wondered at times. “When can I just call it quits and stop forgiving someone for doing the same thing over and over again?” Jesus addresses this issue and answers Peter’s question, letting him know that there is no “magic number.” After all, God forgives us when we sin over and over again. Therefore, we must be willing to forgive others as well.


Classroom Instructions


Before the lesson read Matthew 18:15-22 and become familiar with all the details of the Bible Story.

Materials: Rod Tacklebox
Drama Team
  • Rod enters

Rod: Ahoy there, boys and girls!

Leader: Everybody check it out, it’s our good friend Rod Tacklebox!

Rod: Slap me with a squid and call me Sally!

Leader: What?

Rod: Poke me with a puffer fish and paint me red!

Leader: Huh??

Rod: Tickle a herring and teach it to tap-dance!

Leader: Rod, you’re not making any sense!

Rod: OH! My apologies, landlubber, I was thinkin’ about something else!

Leader: What could you possibly be thinking about that has to do with puffer fish and squids?

Rod: Y’see, my brother…

Leader: Reel?

Rod: Yes, that’s right, my brother Reel and I used to play a game when we were nothin’ but little boys.

Leader: What kind of game did you play?

Rod: Well, we used to fight all the time! We’d slap each other with electric eels, we’d bonk each other on the head with hagfish, one time I even stuck a lobster down the back of his pants!

Leader: Rod, that’s terrible!

Rod: Aye, it was! Every time we got mad at each other about the littlest thing it would end up in a giant fight! There would be fish and fins flyin’ all over the place! So one day my ol’ pappy got sick of it and told us to find some other way of dealing with each other or he’d give us a spankin’ way worse than any lobster could dish out.

Leader: So what did you do?

Rod: Well, instead of fightin’, we’d get right into each other’s faces and say the silliest things we could think of!

Leader: Like what?

Rod: (Gets right into the Leader’s face) ….BOOGER-WEASEL! (continue to say stupid things until the Leader laughs)

Leader: Rod, I don’t see the point of that at all!

Rod: Well, we’d get to laughing so hard that we’d forget all about what we were mad at in the first place and then forgive each other! We’ve been playing that game ever since. It taught us the importance of no matter how many times we get mad at each other, we have to just let it go and forgive.

Leader: Rod, that’s so great, because we’re talking about forgiveness today!

Rod: Aye! There’s a story in the bible of my hero, Peter, that deals with forgiveness…but I’m not gonna give it away for ya, guys and girls! It’s a whale-of a tale! Well, I’m off!

Leader: Where are you headed?

Rod: About to call my brother! I’ve got a whole MESS of crazy things to say to him! (gets right into the Leaders face)…. ROBOTIC CHICKEN GIZZARDS! (back to crowd) THERE SHE BLOWS, AND HERE I GO!

Materials: an apple; a salt shaker

Have you ever had someone say something or do something to hurt you? We’ve all been hurt. Maybe you were physically hurt by someone who beat you up or hit you out of anger. You don’t want to forgive the person who did it. Maybe you were “emotionally” hurt...that means that someone hurt your feelings...by someone who made fun of you or said they would not be your friend. You don’t want to forgive them because it still hurts when you think about it.

I am sure we could all tell stories of how we have been hurt by people at school, our friends, maybe even our own families. But, as hard as it is to do, we must forgive them. You say, “Well, I am not sure I can do it. They really did hurt me bad.” I understand what you are feeling. The disciples also understood what you are feeling.

Jesus was teaching on forgiveness one day

He was teaching the disciples that the thing to do when someone hurts you is to forgive them. Then our good pal, Peter, asked him a question

that many of us have wondered before. Peter asked Jesus, “How many times do I have to forgive someone? Up to seven times?” Peter thought he had picked a pretty high number. He probably figured Jesus was going to say, “No, not that many! That’s too many!”

Jesus answered Peter

“No, not seven times. But, up to seventy TIMES seven times!” WOW! That’s a lot of times to forgive someone. Do you think Jesus was saying that we should keep track of how many times we have forgiven someone, then when they get to that seventy time seven number, THEN we can punch them in the face and stop forgiving them? Of course not! Jesus is saying that we shouldn’t keep track. He is saying that we should be willing to forgive someone EVERY TIME, no matter how many times they hurt us. In this short little sentence, Jesus is teaching us several BIG lessons.

Forgiveness doesn’t just happen automatically. It’s a choice we have to make. We have to choose to forgive the person who hurt us. If we don’t we not only are disobeying God, but we are going to have to suffer the consequences of unforgiveness. In fact, not forgiving others hurts YOU more than it hurts THEM.

You say, “No it doesn’t. I don’t feel bad at all about not forgiving them. So, how does it hurt ME more than it hurts them?” Let me explain. (pull out the apple) You see this apple? (take a bite) Aren’t apples awesome? I mean, they are so sweet and tasty. I love apples. I love apple pie, apple sauce, apple juice. Apples are sweet and tasty. (pull out the salt shaker) But, what happens to that sweet taste when I take this salt and pour it all over the apple (pour a whole lot of salt on the apple)? What happens to that sweet taste? It turns bitter, doesn’t it?

That is exactly what happens to us when we choose not to forgive someone. This apple represents our heart and our attitude. God created us to love others and treat them as we would want to be treated. But, when we choose NOT to forgive someone and we hold that in our hearts—it can lead to bitterness. The effect that the salt had on the apple is the same effect that unforgiveness can have on our hearts and attitude. We can become bitter, angry, full of bad feelings that will eat away at our heart and turn us into a person who is just angry and bitter all the time. Hebrews 12:15 says, “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” When you are filled with bitterness, it affects you and everyone around you.

That is why we must choose to forgive others. We don’t want to be filled with bitterness. Forgiveness is a choice that we must all make every time we are hurt by others. Since we understand that forgiveness is a choice, we can remember that...

It’s much easier to forgive others when I stop to think of all the things God has forgiven me for, isn’t it? God forgave me, so I must choose to forgive others. I can’t just choose to forgive them once. Instead…

When you think about it, God doesn’t have a “magic number” where He stops forgiving us, does He? No, He forgives us no matter how many times we sin against Him. We should do the same for others. Whether it is seven times, seventy times seven, or even seven million—we must forgive! That is what Peter learned, and it is what we all should learn!

  • (play soft music) Pray for those who have been holding unforgiveness in their hearts toward others. Forgive!

  1. What was today’s Big Idea? Answer: “When Someone Does Me Wrong—I Will Forgive!”

  2. Who was Rod Tacklebox always fighting with growing up? Answer: his brother, Reel

  3. What did they decide to do instead of arguing and fighting? Answer: forgive each other and try to make each other laugh

  4. Who asked Jesus the question, “How many times do I have to forgive?” Answer: Peter

  5. How many times did Jesus tell Peter to forgive someone? Answer: up to seventy times seven

  6. Do you think Jesus wanted to literally keep track of how many times we forgive others? Answer: probably not

  7. According to our lesson today, “Forgiveness Is A ______________.” Answer: Choice

  8. According to our lesson today, “_________ Forgave Me, So I Will Choose To Forgive Others.” Answer: God

  9. According to our lesson today, “I Will Choose To Forgive—And ______ ____ Forgiving!” Answer: Keep On

  10. Where was our Power Verse found? Answer: Colossians 3:13

At Home

At Home Instructions

Family Devotion: How Many Times?

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