Repentance Object Lesson

twenty-dollar-bill.jpgI found the initial idea for this object lesson using a $20 bill online.  It worked well for my Laurels so I thought I’d pass it on.

At the beginning of class, I held up a new, crisp $20 bill.  I asked the girls if any of them would like it.  I asked the most enthusiastic volunteer to tell the class what she would buy with the cash.  I then took the bill from her, wrinkled it and then asked if she still wanted it.  She, of course, said yes so I took it back and scribbled on it with a pen.  Again, I asked her if she still wanted it.  She said yes, so I took it back and tore it in half.  Once more, I asked her if she wanted it.  She pointed out that she could take it to the bank and exchange it for a new one so she still wanted it.

I held up the wrinkled, scribbled on, torn up $20 bill and asked her what she would buy with it now.  She said her list wouldn’t change because the value of the bill hadn’t changed.

I pointed out that as we sin, we cause wrinkles and damage to our Spirit.  However, regardless of the extent of the damage, our value never changes in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.  He will always see us for our eternal value rather than our earthly wrinkles. Similar to the bank that exchanges old for new, He provided the atonement to allow us to repair the damage and become clean.  When we repent, we must trust in the Lord; look past the wrinkles and see ourselves as our Heavenly Father does, crisp and new.


  1. Rod Santiano

    Great lesson, but totally illegal to deface currency like that. I wonder if there’s a way to adapt this object lesson to something less illegal?

  2. Jan Myers

    I love this idea but, too, quickly thought of the illegality of defacing U.S. currency. I’m going to use it with several $20 bills in various stages of use from battered to new. May take some “sifting” at the bank, but I think it will work fine. Only the writing on the bill is illegal so you could still crumple, etc.

  3. abby white

    Defacing currency with the intent to alter the bill to gain a benefit is illegal. If simply writing on or tearing up money just to do it is illegal, there would certainly not be so many of those penny mashing machines at all of the national attractions.

  4. LOVE this! Such a good example about how the atonement and repentance work. Even if it is defacing a bill. I love the analogy!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this! I included it in my round-up of favorite object lessons during the Passover/Easter season:

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