Tag Archives: unforgiveness

Conflict and Anger (DEVOTION)


In your table groups, read the following Scriptures, and discuss the questions that follow:

  • Mark 11:25
  • Luke 6:27-36
  • Romans 12:14-21
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
  • Ephesians 4:26-27

What themes do you notice from these Scriptures?

 

Is it okay to be upset with someone?  What conditions does God place on anger?

 

How are we to act towards our enemies?  Why do you think this is so?

 

Read the parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18:21-35.  Consider that this Scripture is most likely about forgiving a Christian brother or sister (notice that Peter asks about forgiving “my brother,” that Jesus is making a comparison to the “kingdom of heaven” and that the other man is referred to as a “fellow servant.”).  If that’s true, what is Jesus saying about forgiveness?  (Hint: the jail cannot be hell, and the torture cannot be eternal in hell if this is about believers.)

 

 

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Filed under Anger, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, Devotion, forgiveness

Unforgiving Servant (QUICK DRAMA)


Matthew 18:21-35

 

Two men enter with a prisoner in chains.  They bring him before a king and throw him down.  The king addresses the prisoner.

 

KING: “My records show that you owe me $3,267,500.  Pay today, or I will sell you, your wife, your children and all you own to pay the debt.”

SERVANT: “Oh, please, your Majesty!  Please have mercy on me!  I can’t pay you today, but I will!  I promise!”

KING: “Hmmmm… On second thought, there’s no way you could every pay off such a large sum.  You seem repentant.  Your debts are completely forgiven.”

SERVANT: “Really?  Completely forgiven?  Oh, THANK YOU, your Majesty!”

The servant leaves, bouncing out of the room while thanking the king.  As soon as he leaves the king’s presence, however, he comes across a man in the hallway and begins yelling at and choking him.

SERVANT: “You lousy rat!  Where’s that lunch money you borrowed from me?  You better pay up!”

MAN (falling on his knees): “Oh, I will!  I will!  I promise you will have all your money back, but I don’t have it on me today!”

SERVANT: “Don’t have it on you, huh?  Guards!  Arrest this man and throw him into prison!  He owes me money!”  (Guards enter and take man to prison.)

Several of the king’s servants observed the unforgiving servant’s behavior, and they quickly reported it to the king.  Enraged, he demands that the unforgiving servant be brought before him.

KING: “I’ve heard how you treated the man who owed you lunch money.  Because you are such an unforgiving servant and couldn’t overlook such a small amount after I had forgiven you of so much, I’m ordering you to be tortured by my guards until you’re ready to forgive that man.”

 

Isn’t it silly that the unforgiving servant couldn’t forgive a few dollars after he had just been forgiven millions of dollars?  God says that ‘s what it’s like when we won’t forgive people for things they’ve done to us.  Compared to how much God had to forgive us for, it’s like the difference between millions of dollars and lunch money.

 

When we won’t forgive others, our relationship with God suffers.  It’s like being in prison.  It won’t keep us from getting into heaven, but it will make life miserable.  But if we will forgive those who intend to harm us, God forgives us and fixes our relationship with Him again.

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Filed under Character, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, drama, forgiveness, Grace, Relationships, unconditional love

Holding a Grudge (OBJ LESSON)


Time

15-20 minutes
Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

Description

This object lesson teaches about the danger of holding a grudge (i.e., choosing not to forgive someone).  It uses an illustration from Where the Red Fern Grows, a great book about a boy and his hunting dogs, by Wilson Rawls.  In the book, the boy learns about an unethical hunter, who traps raccoons by using a weakness in their nature.  The lesson compares the trapper to Satan and the trapper’s methods to Satan’s way of trapping us with our own bitterness.

Scriptures

  •  Matthew 18:21-35

Materials

  • 2-3 foot log
  • Drill with a large bit (like the kind used for drilling doorknob holes into doors) and a small bit (the same diameter as your pegs or pins)
  • 3-4 pegs or pins (about 5” long each)
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper
  • 2” ball of aluminum foil
  • (A diagram of this build is in the file called, “JJ – Holding a Grudge – Diagram (OBJ LESSON)” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.)
  • ALTERNATIVE: If you don’t want to build the trap, you could just show the diagram as an illustration.

Preparation

  • Drill a large hole into the side of the log – large and deep enough for someone to stick his/her hand in and grab a 2” ball of aluminum foil.
  • Hammer pegs or pins into the hole at a 45 degree angle so that the volunteer can get their hand in and comfortably grab the ball of foil but so that he/she will not be able to remove their hand while still clutching the foil.
  • Sand down the rough spots to protect your volunteer from splinters.
  • Put the aluminum foil ball into the hole.
  • These materials will make a trapping device to illustrate how Satan tricks us into holding onto something worthless even though we can’t get free from the trap while we hold it.  A volunteer will put his/her hand into the hole and grab the aluminum foil ball.  The simple solution would be to let go of the ball and get free, but sometimes we want what the ball represents too much.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “There’s a great book by Wilson Rawls, called Where the Red Fern Grows.  It’s about a young boy and his hunting dogs.”
  • “At one point in the story, the boy finds evidence of an unethical hunter.”
  • “The hunter would trap raccoons by using a weakness in their nature.”
  • “He would take a fallen log like this one.”  (Gesture to log.)
  • “And he would drill a hole in the top, like this one.”  (Gesture to hole.)
  • “Then, he would hammer nails through the wood into the hole at a 45 degree angle, like these.”  (Gesture to pegs.)
  • “Finally, he would drop something shiny into the hole like this.”  (Drop in aluminum ball.  Ask for a volunteer to come up and pretend to be a raccoon.)
  • “My volunteer will represent a raccoon that the hunter is trying to trap.”
  • “Raccoons LOVE shiny things!”
  • “They can’t resist them.”
  • “So, when a raccoon sees something shiny, he reaches for it.”
  • “The raccoon would put his hand into the hole in the log and grab the aluminum foil ball.”  (Have volunteer reach into the trap and make a fist around the aluminum ball.)
  • “But while he had his fist around the ball, his hand was too big to pull his hand out of the hole.”
  • “He would struggle and pull for hours, but he wouldn’t let go of the ball.”  (Have volunteer pretend to struggle to pull fist out of the hole.  He/she can’t let go of the ball in order to get free.)
  • “Even when he saw the hunter coming, he wanted the shiny thing so much that he wouldn’t let go to save his life.”
  • “So, that’s how the hunter traps the raccoon.  Now, let’s make a comparison to how Satan traps people.”
  • “Let’s pretend that this trap is really a trap called unforgiveness.”
  • “My volunteer will represent each of us, and in this comparison, we are like the raccoon in the story.”
  • “The trap is a trap of not forgiving someone when they hurt you or disappoint you or forget about you or mistreat you.”
  • “The shiny ball is called a ‘grudge.’”
  • “A grudge is a bad feeling you have against someone.”
  • “It can be anger, bitterness or resentment.  It’s a bad feeling, but it feels good.”
  • “It feels justified and right sometimes to be mad at someone.”
  • “Do you ever feel that way?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “I do.  It’s not good to feel that way, but sometimes we are tempted to.”
  • “When you hold the grudge, it’s very satisfying.”
  • “We spend lots of time thinking about how badly the other person treated us and how good it would feel to get even with them.”
  • “We feel like we SHOULD be mad at them.  If we don’t stay mad at them, then they will get away with the bad thing that they did without having to pay for it.”
  • “We want them to be punished for the bad thing that they did.”
  • “But here’s the problem…the grudge looks shiny and feels good to hold, but it’s really just GARBAGE!”
  • “There’s no real value in it.  Even if you got it out of the trap, it wouldn’t make your life better.”
  • “It wouldn’t fix any of your problems.”
  • “It wouldn’t even make you feel better, because it doesn’t do what it promises.”
  • “You think getting even makes you feel better, but it actually makes you feel worse.”
  • “And the whole time you are holding a grudge, Satan is using it to destroy you.”
  • “Satan is like the trapper who comes to kill the raccoon.”  (Have volunteer struggle to pull the grudge out of the trap as you pretend to be a trapper coming to get him/her.  Look menacing, but don’t scare your audience if they are young.)
  • “You can try to get free, but it’s not possible while you are holding onto the grudge.”
  • “Satan will use the grudge to steal your life – your joy and happiness – from you.”
  • “As long as you hold the grudge, you will be unhappy – I guarantee it.”
  • “The only good solution is to let go of the grudge.”
  • “Open your hand, and release it.”  (Demonstrate with volunteer.)
  • “This is called forgiveness.”
  • “It’s letting go of your right to get even with the other person.”
  • “It doesn’t mean that you have to like the person or have a relationship with him or her, but it does mean that you can’t wish bad things about them anymore.”
  • “When you forgive, you let go of the grudge and get free from the trap.”
  • “When you let go of the grudge, you show that you are trusting God to take care of the situation and do what He thinks is best.”
  • “Only God is wise enough to know what needs to be done in your situation.”
  • “When you trust God to handle bad situations, your happiness and joy will return.”
  • “So, here’s how it works again…”  (Have volunteer reach back in and grab the grudge but then demonstrate the next three steps with you.)
  • “Step 1 – Let go (of the grudge).” (Have volunteer let go of the grudge but keep his/her hand in the trap.)
  • “Step 2 – Let God (take care of things).”  (Have volunteer look up to God and maybe raise his/her other hand to demonstrate giving the grudge to God.)
  • “Step 3 – Get Free (from the trap of unforgiveness)!” (Have volunteer pull their hand from the trap and put both hands in the air to show that he/she is free.)
  • “Let’s say the three steps together – Let God, Let God, Get Free!”  (Have the entire group say this several times so that they get it.)
  • “So, don’t let Satan trap you into holding a grudge.” (Thank and dismiss volunteer. You can use the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the message of this lesson.  The Scriptures at the top are provided in case you want to tell the story as context for the lesson.)

Rhyme Time

Jesus helps me to forgive,

Holding a grudge is no way to live.

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Filed under Conflict Resolution, forgiveness, God's Will, Healing, Object Lesson

Joseph’s Journey


For summer camp this year, I’ve written ten Challenges (Bible activities for small groups and a leader to do together – sometimes in competition with other groups) and some large group lessons on the story of Joseph. They are all located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page (see the link at the top of the screen), and you can find them alphabetically in the list. They all start with the letters “JJ” for “Joseph’s Journey.”

Hope you can find some lessons that will be useful for you!

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Don’t Break the Chain


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that unforgiveness can hinder our prayers for forgivenss.

Materials

  • One “Energy Ball” from www.stevespanglerscience.com. (This ball sends a small electric current through your body when you touch a metal strip on the side. (You cannot feel the current.) The current will pass through as many people as you link together (through holding hands). As long as everyone is touching in the chain, the ball will light up with the last person touches the metal strip with you.)

Preparation

· Purchase the “Energy Ball” (under $10). Allow a few weeks for shipping and delivery.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “How many of you know how important it is to forgive other people when they do something that upsets you?” (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “When we won’t forgive someone, it separates us. Let me show you what I mean.” (Ask for a volunteer to come up.)
  • (Child’s name) and I are good friends. We are very close.” (Give child a side hug.)
  • “But if I get upset with (child’s name) because of something he/she does, it separates us.” (Gently push child about an arm’s length away.)
  • “As long as I’m mad at (child’s name), we are no longer in fellowship.”
  • “But when I forgive (child’s name), it brings us back together. (Give child a side hug.)
  • “Now, God says in the Bible that if we are angry with someone and won’t forgive them, He won’t forgive us of our sins.”
  • “How many of you knew that already?” (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “Well, I didn’t know it for a long time. Let’s look at the Scripture that says this.” (Ask a volunteer to read Mark 11:25-26.)
  • “Jesus is saying that if we are upset with someone, we shouldn’t even bother praying for forgiveness for our own sins until we have forgiven that person.”
  • “What He is not saying is that if we don’t forgive someone we can’t go to heaven.”
  • “The only thing you have to do to go to heaven is believe that Jesus died for your sins and accept the gift of his sacrifice on the cross.”
  • “But what He is saying is that your relationship with God will suffer until you forgive that person you are upset with.” (Ask for a second volunteer to come up. Put this volunteer on the opposite side of you.)
  • “It works like this. When I’m close to (first volunteer’s name), then it’s possible for me to be close to God. (Give both children a side hug at the same time.)
  • “But when I won’t forgive (first volunteer’s name), then it’s not possible for me to be close to God.” (Gently push both volunteers about an arm’s length away from you.)
  • “God wants us to forgive others just like He has already forgiven us for all our sins. In other parts of the Bible, He points out that the person who is forgiven of much should also forgive others of much.”
  • “Let me show you another way. Let’s say this ball (show Energy Ball) will tell us if God will or will not answer our prayers for forgiveness.”
  • “If it lights up, God will answer our prayers. If it doesn’t, He won’t.” (Have child put finger on one sensor, and you put finger on other sensor. Then, join hands in a circle with volunteer representing God.  The ball should light up.)
  • “Good! I don’t have anything against (first volunteer’s name), so God will answer my prayers.”
  • “But if I’m upset that (first volunteer’s name) took the last piece of dessert at lunch (separate from both children and touch one sensor while the first volunteer touches the other sensor), God won’t answer our prayers until I forgive (first volunteer’s name).” (Join hands in a circle again while touching sensors, and ball should light up.)
  • “Cool, huh? Let’s see what happens when we add people.” (Get a few more volunteers and have them form a circle and each hold hands with the person next to them.)
  • “So, now what we are creating is the Body of Christ, which is made up of all the people who trust Jesus as their Savior.”
  • “When we love each other and forgive each other for things that upset us, God is pleased and answers our prayers.” (Have the original volunteer stand at the beginning of the circle and touch a sensor while the last person in the circle touches the other one— the ball should light up.)
  • “But if one of these people is mad at this other one because he jumped on top of him in the swimming pool…” (point to two children as you say this, and separate their hands as you do so – they should not be touching in any way. — The light will go out),
  • “…God won’t answer their prayers until this one forgives this one.” (Have them join hands again, and the ball should light up.)
  • “Now, let’s see what happens if we add everyone else to the circle!” (Allow all the other children to join the circle. They should hold hands like the others, and the first and last people in the circle should touch the contact points on the ball.)
  • “Hey! God must be answering our prayers!” (Let individuals in the circle break the chain and then reestablish it to see what happens to the ball.)HHey
  • “Jesus said that people will know we are His followers if we love one another.” (John 13:35)
  • “Loving one another makes us look so different from those who don’t know Jesus that they will want to know why we are so different, and that gives you a chance to tell them about Jesus.”
  • “You can’t love someone in the same way God loves us (unconditionally) if you are resentful of them, so let’s keep practicing forgiveness so that we can show the world what a forgiving God we have!” (Let other children be the ones to touch the contact points on the ball and experiment with it.)

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Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, forgiveness, Hands-on, Obedience, Object Lesson, prayer, Relationships, unconditional love