WEEK 1: An Eye for an Eye
You'll Need: Paper, scissors, old magazines, glue
Get Started: Play "Feelings Charades." Have each person act out an emotion and let everyone else guess what emotion is being portrayed.
Talk It Over: Ask everyone to show what anger might look like. Have each person talk about something that makes them angry. What does it mean to "get back at someone" or "pay them back"? This month you'll learn about the forgiveness we celebrate at Easter. Ask someone to read Exodus 21:23-25 and Matthew 5:38, 43-45. Why did Jesus change the rules? What does it mean to forgive? When is it hardest to forgive? Why does God want us to forgive others?
Wrap It Up: Ask everyone to cut eyes, noses, mouths, and ears from magazine pictures. Mix these up and let everyone choose what they need to make a face on a piece of paper. Discuss the concept of "an eye for an eye." What if God treated us that way? End your time by thanking God for forgiving us.
WEEK 2: East and West
You'll Need: A globe or world map
Get Started: Find where you live on the globe or map. Locate north, south, east, and west on it. Go outside and face north, south, east, and west in your yard.
Talk It Over: Ask someone to read Romans 3:23. What is sin? How do we know what's sin and what's not? Is it possible for anyone to live a perfect life, never sinning? Have someone read Psalm 103:8-13. What does Psalm 103:12 mean? Ask how long it would take you to get west if you started walking east. What does it tell you about God?
Wrap It Up: Ask everyone to copy you. Hold up your thumb, saying, "God is perfect." Point to yourself with your forefinger, saying, "I am not." Form a J with your thumb and forefinger, saying, "But Jesus came to take the blame." Repeat several times together. You'll learn the rest next week. End by thanking God for taking away your sins.
WEEK 3: For Give = Give For
You'll Need: Paper, crayon, several different buttons, a coin to flip
Get Started: Draw a curving road down the paper. Divide it into spaces and draw a "jail" somewhere on the paper. Give each person a button as a game piece. To take a turn, flip the coin. If it's heads, move two spaces. If it's tails, move one space. If someone is already in your space, go to jail. To get out of jail, flip the coin each time it's your turn until you get heads. You can also get out if someone volunteers to take your place.
Talk It Over: Ask someone to read Isaiah 59:2 and Romans 6:16. Living in sin is like being trapped in a jail. But Jesus volunteered to take our place. What did Jesus give for us so that we'd be forgiven? What can we give up in order to forgive others? (We can give up our anger and the right to retaliate.)
Wrap It Up: Review last week's fingerplay. Now make a cross with both forefingers, saying, "He died on the cross, punished for my sins." Hold out both hands, palms up, saying, "Now I am forgiven." Fold your hands in prayer, saying, "I ask Jesus to be my Lord and Savior." End by thanking Jesus for taking the punishment for our sins.
WEEK 4: A Bitter Taste
You'll Need: Regular chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate, a deck of playing cards, and a clean sock for each person
Get Started: Let everyone taste bitter chocolate, then sweet chocolate.
Talk It Over: Ask everyone to describe the taste of baking chocolate. Just like that chocolate, our feelings can be bitter, too. Explain that when we don't forgive, it makes us bitter. Who does bitterness hurt? Ask someone to read Ephesians 4:26-27 and Hebrews 12:15. What is a "foothold"? How can the devil get a "foothold" because of our anger? How can we learn to forgive people who've made us angry?
Wrap It Up: Play "Foothold." Place the shuffled cards face down in a stack. Have each person place a sock on one hand. Take turns turning over the top card. When a jack turns up, everyone tries to slap it with their sock-covered hand. The first to slap gets all the cards under the jack. That person has found a "foothold," into the deck. Keep playing until you've gone through the whole deck. The person with the most cards at the end wins. End by asking God to help you let go of anger and be forgiving instead.
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