Youth Ministry Lesson on Matthew 18:21-35: Breaking the Chains of Unforgiveness

As teenagers, it is essential to understand the importance of forgiveness in our journey of faith. Forgiveness is a powerful tool that not only brings healing and restoration but also reflects the heart of God. In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus teaches us about forgiveness through a parable. This lesson will explore the significance of forgiveness in our lives and how it can deepen our relationship with God.

Bible Reading: Matthew 18:21-22

“Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.'”


  1. Forgiveness is not limited by a specific number or quota. Jesus encourages us to extend forgiveness generously and without limits.
  2. The act of forgiveness reflects God’s unconditional love and mercy towards us. It allows us to imitate His character and reflect His grace to others.
  3. Forgiveness is a choice and a process. It involves letting go of anger, resentment, and the desire for revenge.

Bible Reading: Matthew 18:23-35

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”


  1. The parable highlights the vast difference between the forgiveness shown by the master and the lack of forgiveness displayed by the servant.
  2. The massive debt owed by the servant represents our sins and offenses towards God. Despite our unworthiness, God graciously forgives us when we repent and seek His mercy.
  3. The small debt owed to the servant represents the offenses committed against us. In light of God’s forgiveness, we are called to extend forgiveness to others.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think Peter asked Jesus about forgiving “seven times”? What was Jesus’ response, and what does it indicate about the nature of forgiveness?
  2. How does the parable illustrate the significance of forgiveness in our lives?
  3. Have you ever struggled with forgiving someone? What made forgiveness challenging in that situation?
  4. In what ways does forgiveness reflect God’s character? How can forgiveness deepen our relationship with Him?

Youth Group Game: “Forgiveness Relay”

Divide the youth into teams. Each team member will have a balloon tied to their ankle. The objective is to pop each other’s balloons by stomping on them. However, before popping a balloon, the person must ask for forgiveness from the one whose balloon they are about to pop. This game encourages communication, humility, and practicing forgiveness in a lighthearted manner.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank you for your incredible forgiveness and love towards us. Help us to understand the power of forgiveness and the impact it has on our faith journey. Grant us the strength to forgive others, just as you have forgiven us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Note: The content and ideas for this lesson were inspired by various sources, including the Bible and contemporary Christian influencers such as Louie Giglio and Lecrae.

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