How Many Times?
I brought a number to show you today. (Show flashcard.) There it is: 77. Does that number mean
anything to you? Of all the numbers in the world why do you think I’d pick that number?

I’ll give you the answer in a little while. But first, have you ever been angry at someone because they
said something that hurt you? I think everyone has. Well, when people are mean to us, is it OK to say
mean things back to them? No! Should we find other ways to hurt them back? No!

You remember that they did some pretty mean things to Jesus, didn’t they? What were some of the
mean things they did to him? (Made him wear a crown of thorns, beat him, whipped him, spat on him,
nailed him to the cross.) And when he was dying on the cross, did he say, “I’m mad at you guys and
when I’m resurrected I’m going to get back at you.”? No. He said, “Father, forgive them.” And if Jesus
could forgive the people who crucified him, do you think we should forgive the people who hurt us?

But what if they keep being mean to us after we forgive them? Do we have to forgive them again? Let’s
see what the Bible says in Matthew 18:21 & 22: “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how
many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus
answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but…
(Show flashcard.)…seventy-seven times.’”

In other words we need to keep on forgiving people when they hurt us. And by the way, when we talk
about forgiveness, what it means is that we should stop being angry. If you’re still angry, you haven’t
forgiven. That’s not always easy, but God gives us his Holy Spirit to help us do the right thing when it’s
hard to do.

And it always helps to pray about it, so let’s do that now: Father in Heaven, we’re thankful that you
forgive us when we sin. Please help us to forgive others, because we know that Jesus didn’t die just
for us: He died for those people who hurt us, too. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Song: “The Bond of Love”
Forgiving others
"Lord how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against  me?
I tell you not seven times, but seventy-seven times." Matthew 18:21, 22 (NIV)
A flashcard with the number 77
Copyright © 2009 Steven Rudolph. All rights reserved.