Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids how to confront and forgive others.
Needed: Bibles, soft balls or paper wads
Intro Game: Don’t Hit Dodgeball
Divide students into two teams. They stand at opposite sides of your play area. Their goal is to not hit the other team while making the other team hit them. If someone throws and hits a member of the other team, they’re out. Meanwhile, members of the other team can dive in front of thrown balls to get the thrower out.
Players can’t hold balls. They have three seconds to throw, or they’re out. If a ball stays on one side for more than five seconds, the whole team is out. You can pretend the balls are bombs that they want to throw out of their area without hitting anyone else.
The first team to get all the members of the opposite team out wins.
Ask students, When someone does something mean to you, what should you do?
Should you do something mean back to them?
Should you yell at them or hit them?
Should you tell your parent or a teacher?
Today, we’re going to learn what Jesus says you should do when someone does something mean to you.
(Read Matthew 18:15.)
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”
What does Jesus say you should do if someone does something wrong? (Go talk to that person and tell them how they were wrong, just you and them.)
But what if they won’t listen to you or say they’re sorry?
(Read Matthew 18:16.)
“But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’”
Now, what does Jesus say you should do? (Take one or two more people with you to talk to the person and tell them how they were wrong.)
So, first, you go talk to them by yourself. Then, you take a couple of people with you to talk to them. But what if they still won’t listen and say they’re sorry?
(Read Matthew 18:17.)
“If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
So if the person won’t listen to you or to the one or two other people you took with you, then what does Jesus say you should do? (Tell the church.)
If it happens at church, you can tell your teacher. If it happens at school, you can tell your school teacher. If it happens at home, you can tell your parents. But Jesus says that you only tell on people if they won’t say they’re sorry to just you, or they won’t say they’re sorry when you take one or two more people to talk to them.
First, you talk to them by yourself. Second, you take a couple of people with you. Third, you tell a teacher or your parent or someone who’s in charge. But what if they still won’t listen and say they’re sorry?
Jesus says that then, you treat them like a pagan or a tax collector. That means that you don’t talk to them anymore until they say they’re sorry.
When can you hit them? (You can’t.)
When can you call them a name? (You can’t.)
When can you do something mean back to them? (You can’t.)
The only thing you can do is first, talk to them by yourself; second, take one or two more people with you; third, tell a teacher or parent or someone else who is in charge; fourth, don’t talk to them again until they say they’re sorry. That’s all Jesus said we could do. And whenever someone does say they’re sorry, we have to forgive them. We can’t keep being mad at them after they say they’re sorry.
But why do you think Jesus wants us to tell someone when they do something wrong?
Is it so that we can yell at them because we’re angry that they did something wrong?
Is it so that they feel bad about they did?
The reason we talk to them and tell them that they did something wrong is so that they can learn and not do that wrong thing again. We’re trying to help them learn so that they can be more like Jesus.
Activity: What Should I Do?
Okay. Let’s practice.
I’m going to tell you a story, and you tell me what the person should do at the end.
Yesterday, Bob was outside playing a game with his neighbor, Allen. Kayla and Carrie were there too. When Allen started losing the game, he got mad and called Bob a name. What should Bob do? (He should ask Allen to say he was sorry for calling him a name.)
So Bob says, “Allen, I didn’t like you to call me that name. You should say you’re sorry.” What should Allen do? (He should say he was sorry for calling Bob a name.)
What if Allen says he doesn’t want to say he’s sorry? Then, what should Bob do? (He should ask Kayla and Carrie to talk to Allen too, and ask Allen to say he’s sorry.)
So, Kayla and Carrie say, “Yeah, Allen. It’s not nice to call people names. You should say you’re sorry.” What should Allen do? (He should say he’s sorry for calling Bob a name.)
But what if Allen still says he doesn’t want to say he’s sorry? Then, what should Bob do? (He could go in the house and tell his mom, or he could tell Allen’s mom on him.)
So, Bob goes inside and tells his mom, and his mom comes out and says, “Allen, you’re not allowed to call people names. Say you’re sorry.” What should Allen do? (He should say he’s sorry for calling Bob a name.)
But what if Allen still won’t listen and say he’s sorry? Then, what should Bob do? (He should stop talking to Allen or playing with him until Allen says he’s sorry.)
Activity: Acting It Out
Divide students into groups of three or four. Have each group decide on and act out a scene in which someone does something wrong to another, and they act out the steps of confronting the person individually, then with two more people, and then by telling you as the leader.
Game: Don’t Hit Dodgeball
Play the intro game again and remind students that Jesus tells us to talk to people when they do something wrong against us, not hit them.
Jesus, we thank You for telling us how we can handle the situation when someone does something wrong. Help us to stay calm and to follow Your steps to talk to someone ourselves, to talk to them with other people, and to tell the leader about it.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, The Parables and Teachings of Jesus Vol. 2.