This Challenge teaches how bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred and resentment create a trap for us and how forgiveness and turning things over to God (especially when we are having a hard time forgiving in our own power) gets us free from the trap. It uses Chinese finger traps to illustrate the point.
- Genesis 37-50 (Particularly Genesis 50 when Joseph forgives his brothers)
- Colossians 3:13
- Finger traps – 1 per person with several extras in case they break (they are notoriously poorly made – You can order them through anyone you like, but they are cheaply available through Oriental Trading. Order early, because it may take a few weeks for them to arrive. Approximately $10 for 72, plus shipping and handling. The link to Oriental Trading: http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/search/processRequest.do?Ntt=finger+trap&x=0&y=0&requestURI=searchMain&Ntk=all&Ntx=mode%2Bmatchallpartial&N=0)
- Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Let Go, Let God, Get Free – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com. This can be printed in black and white on regular paper. There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
- Ziplock bags – any size – 1 per group
- Print out the Challenge Card document.
- Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
- Put enough finger traps into each Ziplock bag for each person to have one (and maybe a few extras).
- Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
- “It’s called, “Let Go, Let God, Get Free!” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
- “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.” (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
- “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card.”
- “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
- “Colossians 3:13 says, ‘Put up with each other. Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you.’” (NIRV)
- “This challenge is about how bitterness, resentment, hatred and unforgiveness become a trap for us.”
- “How many of you have ever seen a Chinese finger trap before?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “Let’s say that this finger trap (hold up a finger trap for everyone to see) is bitterness, resentment, hatred or unforgiveness.”
- “When you are feeling these emotions toward someone, it’s like putting your fingers in the trap.” (Demonstrate for them.)
- “Sometimes you want to get free from these emotions, but you can’t.” (Pull your fingers apart. The finger trap should tighten up on them and prevent your fingers from getting free.)
- “You might even want to forgive that person, but the trap of bitterness, resentment, hatred or unforgiveness won’t let you go.” (Demonstrate trying to pull your fingers out again.)
- “These are times when it may not be possible for you to forgive that person. It’s just too hard.”
- “So, here’s what you should do.”
- “First, LET GO! – This means, stop trying so hard to do what you can’t do on your own.”
- “Next, LET GOD! – This means, let God do what you can’t do. Pray to Him, and tell Him what you are struggling with. Ask Him to give you His love and His forgiveness for that person.”
- “Finally, GET FREE! – It’s like a miracle! When you stop trying so hard and let God do what you can’t do, you get free! The bitterness, resentment, hatred or unforgiveness will disappear as God replaces it with His love and His forgiveness.”
- “Let me show you what I mean with this finger trap.” (As you demonstrate, say the three steps out loud. First show them that trying in your own power just makes the trap tighter. Then, LET GO! – Push your fingers together so that they meet in the middle of the trap. LET GOD! – Ask someone else to hold the finger trap (they are representing God), while you carefully and slowly pull your fingers out. GET FREE! – Show the group that your fingers are free from the trap of bitterness, resentment, hatred and unforgiveness.)
- “See how it works?”
- “When I can’t do it myself, I stop trying and just pray that God will change my heart for me. Then I get free!”
- “So what are the three steps again?” (Let the group tell you several times what the three steps are in order – LET GO! LET GOD! GET FREE!)
- “Want to try it on your own?” (Pass out the finger traps and let them play with them. Try to get them to go through the three steps and say them out loud several times.)
- (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards). The Rhyme Time is to help them recognize that God can help them forgive.)
- Why is it important to forgive people when they hurt you?
- Why is it so hard to forgive people sometimes?
- Do you think these three steps will work for you? Why or why not?
Jesus helps me to forgive; Holding a grudge is no way to live!