Jesus taught the parable of the Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18:21-35. This parable teaches that we must forgive others, since Jesus forgave us.
- We should forgive others.
- God forgives people’s sins.
- We should forgive without counting.
Lesson Guide – The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
Ask your child if they know what it means to forgive? Explain that to forgive someone is to wipe out the debt they owe or let go of the anger we feel toward them for doing something wrong.
Using a whiteboard or a chalkboard, ask your child to name some bad actions that would need forgiveness. Make lots of marks on the board representing each sin. For example, stealing, disobeying, backtalk, etc. Share how sin marks our lives and we need Jesus to make us clean.
Now, talk about a time that someone wronged your child. Perhaps a sibling took a toy, or a friend was unkind. Using a different colour make a small line to represent the sin that someone committed against them. Ask who owes the greater debt.
Wipe the board clean of the lines representing their sin. Explain that this is what God does when we ask Him to forgive our sins. Jesus died so that our debt could be wiped clean.
Now, point to the little line representing the action someone did against them. Ask if it should be forgiven.
Share how forgiveness is not always easy, but since God forgives us, we should forgive others.
Ask your child if they remember who is Peter? Read Matthew 18:21. Ask your child if they think seven times is enough times to forgive someone. Do they think it should be more or less? Count out seven objects on the floor.
Read Matthew 18:22. Even though we think seven time is a lot, Jesus told Peter seventy times seven. He was saying there is no limit to how many times we should forgive because of the way God forgives us.
Begin to play a game of “Follow the Leader.” Appoint your child as the leader, and if they are unfamiliar with the game, tell them that you are supposed to copy whatever they do. As they begin, don’t do anything they do. Make it obvious that you are not copying them. Explain that although you are saying you want them to be the leader, you are showing that you don’t really want them to be. Talk about how we can’t say we want to obey Jesus, but then disobey when He tells us to forgive. Now, ask them to demonstrate how to follow the leader well.
As your child follows and copies everything you do, repeat phrases like, “Jesus is loving” and have the child say, “I should be loving.” “Jesus is forgiving”, “I should be forgiving.” Continue with various attributes of Christ, which we should emulate. Kind, good, etc. Point out that just like your child follows in your physical footsteps, we should follow in Jesus’ spiritual footsteps.
Remind your child the Bible says, “Treat others the way you want to be treated”. Remind them that we should forgive the way we want to be forgiven.
Say the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) together and reflect on verse 12. “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”.
Thank God that He has forgiven us. Ask Him to help us forgive others.
Free Printable Bible Story
Games and Activities
Paper snowball fight
Roll up some old paper or magazines to make paper balls. Divide the room into two with equal paper balls on each side. Encourage your child to share them equally. Split into teams. On go, each team must try to through all the balls onto the other team’s side. When the time is finished, shout, “stop.” Ask your child to estimate which side has more balls. Next count the balls to see which team wins.
With at least two people, take turns to roll a dice. After each person has rolled, the person with the highest number wins a point. The first person to collect five points wins. Speak about whether the number is bigger or smaller as you roll the dice.
Put some pieces of paper on the table. In the middle of the table, place a handful of different value coins. Ask your child to sort the coins by placing each value onto a piece of paper. (You could write the value on the paper.) Explain how different coins have different values. Help your child to count the coins and see which pile is worth the most.
Free Bible Coloring Pages – The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
Craft – Forgive each other
What you need:
- Template pages (included in free download)
- Colouring pencils,
- Optional (googly eyes)
What to do:
- Colour the template pages and draw the face.
- Draw around both your child’s hands onto paper.
- Cut out the objects. Glue arms and legs behind heart. Glue on hands.