The Other Cheek
By DAVID CASSADY
Help your kids respond to others in love when they’ve been wronged.
1. Opener: Cheek Attack—Form groups of four, and give each group a package of candy. Give each group member a different card with one of these messages written on it: 1. Share the candy; 2. Share the candy; 3. Share the candy; 4. Destroy the candy.
Say: Don’t let anyone see what your card says. When I call your number, do what your card says.
Call #1, #2, #3, then #4. After the 4s are finished with the candy, ask: How did you feel about your group members’ actions? How did you feel about what #4 did to the candy?
Give groups each a new package of candy and tell them they may choose to keep #4 in their group or kick #4 out. After they make their decision, have them welcome any estranged #4s back into their groups and share the candy.
Read aloud Luke 6:27-31. Then ask: How difficult was it to do what Jesus says to do in this Scripture? How easy or difficult is it to not seek revenge when someone hurts us?
Say: Today we’re going to talk about responding in love even when forgiving someone seems too tough.
2. Resentment Reaction—Give each group several newspapers. Have groups each look for incidents where people sought revenge. Have them choose one of the stories to act out with a new twist. Have groups each act out their story and freeze at the point of reaction. Then have kids act out how Jesus would’ve wanted the people to react to each other.
3. Even When It’s Tough—Form pairs. Have pairs stand in two lines facing each other. Have the partners in one line each call out an unloving action people do to each other. Have the opposite partner respond the way he or she would in real life. Then have partners trade roles and continue the process. If either partner cannot give a response that Jesus would be pleased with, have that pair sit on the floor.
After five minutes, have seated partners tell what unloving action stumped them. Then say: Some people go through some pretty tough experiences. Many are made fun of; some are wounded emotionally by mean words; others may even suffer physical abuse. Turning the other cheek doesn’t mean we have to stay in an abusive situation, but it does mean we need to forgive. Some things can seem almost impossible to forgive. But Jesus gives us the power to forgive.
4. Closing: Giving Forgiveness—Form trios. Have the trios line up against a wall. Have one person in each group kneel on his or her hands and knees. Have the other people—call them Grudges—sit on the kneeling person’s back. Have this person try to carry both Grudges at the same time to the opposite wall—without dropping either of them.
Afterward, have everyone sit down. Ask the Grudge-carriers: How did it feel to carry your Grudges? How did you feel when you finally let go of your Grudges?
Then say: When we carry a grudge, we are weighed down. God wants us to let go of our grudges and replace them with forgiveness.
Have kids each think of someone who’s wronged them or someone they hold a grudge against. Read aloud Luke 23:33-34. Close in prayer, asking God to help kids each forgive and love the person who’s caused them pain.