Bring in some kind of paddles (ping pong, badminton, nerf) and a ball (a ball that is lightweight or foamy). Volley the ball back and forth and give each child a turn (keep the other children out of the way of the paddles while the games are being played).
BOOK: Judges 13
Our Bible story today is from the Old Testament book of Judges. Samson was a man to whom God gave special strength. When he was born, an angel of the Lord gave his mother special instructions. She was not allowed to ever cut his hair. This would be a sign that he was set apart for God; God had a very important plan for Samson. As he grew, the Lord blessed him, but Samson had a bad temper. God did use him to carry out His special plan, but sometimes Samson did things because he was mad (see Judges 15:3,7; 16:28).
One time, somebody did something really mean to Samson. He wanted to get them back, so he went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then hooked a torch to every pair of tails, lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the grain and vineyards of the people who he was mad at (the Philistines). All their grains, vineyards, and olive groves burned up. They had nothing left.
Then the Philistines did something even worse to Samson. It made Samson really sad and really mad. He told the Philistines, “Since you did this, I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.” Samson did get his revenge and many people were hurt because of it. When somebody asked him why he did this, his reason was, “I merely did to them what they did to me.” (Judges 15:11b) Samson and the Philistines did this back and forth to each other.
Finally, Samson was captured by the Philistines. They gouged out his eyes and kept him as a prisoner. The end of this story is the end of everyone in it. Samson died and killed all the Philistines at the same time. They had him tied to the pillars of the large building they were all in. Samson used the strength God gave him and pushed the pillars out and the temple came down on the rulers and all the people in it and Samson, too.
Sometimes people do things to us that make us mad. When that happens, you might feel like hurting them back. Maybe you want to break one of their toys, or pinch them or hit them and punch them. Is that what Jesus would want you to do? No, he wants us to treat other people the way we want to be treated.
When we played paddle ball at the beginning of the lesson, someone would hit the ball, and then the other person would hit it back. That’s fun when we’re playing a game, but not when we’re doing mean things back to people because they’re doing them to us. It’s going to keep going back and forth, just like it did with Samson. Have you ever heard the saying, “Tit for tat”? That means that if someone does something mean to you, you’re going to do something mean back. Another word for that is called “revenge”. If we have bad thoughts in our head and we are thinking of ways to hurt people back, (or get revenge), we are going to not only hurt them, but we’re going to hurt ourselves. Just like a game of paddle ball/ping-pong, the hurt keeps coming back. Somebody has to stop tossing back the meanness so that it stops. You can ask Jesus to help you not want to get revenge (or get back at a person for hurting you), and He will help you control yourself. You will feel better when you are not trying to hurt someone and hopefully you can make up with the person who is being mean.
“Do not take revenge . . .” Romans 12:19
Dear Jesus, sometimes a lot of mean and bad things happen to us that we don’t like. Please help us not to hurt people back when they hurt us. Help us to turn to you. You will take away our angry and hurt feelings and help us to forgive. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!!