Children’s Sermon

Matthew 18:21-35

Knowing the Score

By Lois Parker Edstrom

Object suggested: A board game in which a score is tallied to decide the winner.

When you go a baseball game, how do you know which team is the winner? Yes, you look at the scoreboard. You know that the team with the most points at the end of the game has won.

The same thing happens when you play certain board games or card games with your friends and family. Can you think of examples of games in which the player with the most points at the end of the game wins? (Show example.)

We all like to do well and we like to win. In most games, to win, you must keep score.

Jesus teaches us about one area of our lives where it is not necessary to keep score.

Peter, a disciple, asked Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?” (18:21) (To forgive is to give up your anger against someone who has hurt you.)

Jesus said to him, “I don’t tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven” (18:22). Seventy-seven is a lot! It would be difficult for us to keep score long enough to forgive seventy-seven times.

When Peter asks, “…how often should I forgive?” Jesus answers as if he is saying, “Don’t keep score.” Jesus teaches that we must be willing to forgive many times. How do we do that?

We forgive because we have been forgiven. God offers the gift of forgiveness to each one of us, forgiving us when we are hurtful and make bad choices. Accepting God’s love and forgiveness allows us to forgive others who make bad choices and hurt us.

Being able to forgive is a gift you give yourself and the person who has done something hurtful. Jesus teaches: Don’t keep score. Be willing to forgive over and over again.

Scripture quotations from the World English Bible

Copyright 2008, Richard Niell Donovan