Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Have you ever forgiven someone who had been mean to you? If a person comes to you and says that he is sorry, it is always good to say, “I forgive you.” But if he is unkind again, what should you do then?
From the New Testament, we learn that Peter asked Jesus a similar question. Peter wanted to know how often he should forgive someone who had wronged him. He asked if forgiving someone seven times was enough.
Jesus answered, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22).
70 x 7 = 490! What a large number! Did Jesus really mean that Peter should forgive a person 490 times? Would Peter need to carry a book or a tablet to keep track of each time he forgave until he had forgiven that many times?
Elder James E. Talmage, an Apostle in our time, tells us that Jesus meant that Peter—and all of us—should be willing to always forgive. (See Jesus the Christ, page 393.)
Why is forgiving others so important? When Jesus told Peter to forgive seventy times seven, was He thinking only of the person being forgiven, or was He thinking of Peter too? Would forgiving others help Peter feel peace?
Yes! Jesus knew that Peter would be blessed with a feeling of peace each time he truly forgave someone. Forgiving brings peace to those who forgive as well as to those who are forgiven. Jesus taught that we should forgive and be kind to one another, and He set the example for us.
Activity: Often it helps us to forgive another person if we try to “walk in his shoes” by imagining how that person feels, or why he might have done or said what he did. As you read the situations, find the shoes that fit each situation they match. Then “walk in those shoes” and finish the sentence with possible reasons for that person’s behavior.
I think Debbie could understand and forgive her brother because__________.
2. Logan had just thrown the soccer ball inbounds, when a member of the other team deliberately ran into him and knocked him down.
I think Logan could understand and forgive the other player because__________.
3. Lisa’s father said he had to break his promise and miss her school program that night because of work.
I think Lisa could understand and forgive her father because__________.
4. Michelle jumped into a large puddle and splashed mud all over Kevin.
I think Kevin could understand and forgive Michelle because__________.
5. Nate wanted a turn at riding the family horse, but his older sister wouldn’t get off and let him have a ride.
I think Nate could understand and forgive his sister because__________.
6. Robyn was upset because her older brother wouldn’t let her go with him to work in the fields.
I think Robyn could understand and forgive her brother because__________.
7. Heidi’s little sister Maria wouldn’t help catch the family dog, who squeezed through the back fence just as the family was leaving for Church.
I think Heidi could understand and forgive Maria because__________.
Story: Kent’s mother had asked him to clean up the yard. He was raking up all the leaves and small branches that had fallen from the trees and plants in the yard. Kent worked hard, and finally he had gathered all the leaves and branches into one big pile. Just then Jed came down the street, ran into the pile, and kicked leaves and branches in every direction. All of Kent’s work was undone in a few seconds.
Kent’s brother saw what Jed did. He thought that Kent should chase Jed and beat him up for scattering the pile of leaves and branches.
Help the children think of a few suggestions. Then finish the story:
Kent did run after Jed. But instead of hitting Jed, Kent asked him if he had any work left to do that day. Jed nodded. Kent offered to help Jed with his work if Jed would help rake the leaves into a pile again. Jed agreed, and the two boys had a good time working together.