Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Jesus told his disciples this story about forgiveness.

Before You Listen

After you listen

Memory Verse

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Audio Icon   Matthew 18:21



The first servant owed the king millions of dollars. That servant couldn't pay it back. What would the king do? The king could have sent the servant to jail, but instead, he erases his whole debt! The servant is so happy and thankful! And then he does a strange thing. Why would the first servant immediately demand the money owed to him by another servant, even after the king forgives all his debt? Perhaps he didn’t trust the king to keep his word, and thought he would need to start collecting money to pay back his debt. If he trusted the king, he would have followed his example. Jesus tells us that forgiving others is not optional for his followers. Jesus died for all of our sins, so when we ask for forgiveness from God, we get it every single time. When we trust that God has forgiven us, we can forgive others.

You can read the Bible story in Matthew 18:21-35. Want to dig deeper and learn more about forgiveness? Check out Luke 17:3-4, Micah 7:18-19 and Colossians 3:12-14.


Fold a piece of paper in half. On one side, draw a picture of the king and the first servant. Cover that half of the paper in little stars (or some other shape) to show how much debt the king had forgiven. As you add stars, think of times when God has forgiven your sins. On the other side, draw a picture of the first and second servants. This time add only one little star and think of someone you need to forgive. When you remember how much God is able to forgive, it becomes easier to forgive someone else.