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The Unforgiving Servant

To think about the parable of the unforgiving servant

by Gordon and Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To think about the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18.23-35).

Preparation and materials

  • Read through the story in advance.

Assembly

  1. Explain that today you're going to tell a story that Jesus told about 2,000 years ago. The children have two jobs: one is to join in with the story and the other is to listen carefully and think about it. Explain that the story is a parable - a story with a special meaning.

  2. Teach the responses. Whenever you say the word 'King', the children are to say, 'Great and powerful one', and to shape their hands as if putting a crown on their heads.

    Whenever you say the word 'Servant', the children are to say, 'Your humble servant', and make a bowing action as they sit.

    Whenever you say the word 'Money', the children are to say, 'Money, money, money', and the action is to count out coins in the hand.

    Whenever you say the word 'Debt' (you might need to explain this word), the children are to say 'Oh dear' and wag their finger in time with the words.

    Practise a few times and then tell the story.

  3. Once there was a king
    Great and powerful one
    Who had a servant
    Your humble servant
    And this servant
    Your humble servant
    Owed the king
    Great and powerful one
    A lot of money
    Money, money, money
    A great, great deal of money
    Money, money, money
    Did the servant
    Your humble servant
    Owe the king
    Great and powerful one

    The trouble was that the servant
    Your humble servant
    Couldn't pay his debt
    Oh dear
    So, said the king
    Great and powerful one
    He must go to prison

    The servant
    Your humble servant
    Was brought before the king
    Great and powerful one
    Please have mercy on me, he said
    And he fell on his knees and begged the king
    Great and powerful one
    And the king
    Great and powerful one
    Felt sorry for the servant
    Your humble servant
    And forgave him and let him go

    Now the servant
    Your humble servant
    Went straight out and met a fellow servant
    Your humble servant
    And this other servant
    Your humble servant
    Was in debt
    Oh dear
    To the first servant
    Your humble servant
    For just a few pounds
    Not much money
    Money, money, money
    At all
    It was a very small debt
    Oh dear

    Pay back the money
    Money, money, money
    That you owe me
    Said the first servant
    Your humble servant
    The one who the king
    Great and powerful one
    Had forgiven

    The other servant
    Your humble servant
    Begged to be forgiven his debt
    Oh dear
    But the first servant
    Your humble servant
    Would not forgive him and had him thrown in jail

    The king
    Great and powerful one
    Got to hear about the other servant
    Your humble servant
    Who owed money
    Money, money, money
    Who was in debt
    Oh dear
    To the first servant
    Your humble servant
    Whose debt
    Oh dear
    The king
    Great and powerful one
    Had forgiven

    He was angry
    Very angry
    Very, very, very angry
    And he sent the first servant
    Your humble servant
    Straight to prison because that servant
    Your humble servant
    Had had his debt
    Oh dear
    Forgiven
    But would not forgive a much smaller debt
    Oh dear

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Jesus told his followers that they must learn to forgive from the heart.
Forgiveness is hard.
When people hurt us we want to hurt them back.
Help us to understand forgiveness,
help us to learn to forgive.
Help us to practise forgiveness whenever we can.
Amen.

Song/music

'Our Father' (Come and Praise, 51)

Publication date: June 2002   (Vol.4 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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