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Imprisoned Hearts

It's

Bible Text:

Galatians 5:15

Materials You Need:

A large heart as in the picture with a "Happy Heart" face on one side and an "Unhappy Heart" face on the other side.
A sheet of A4 black cardboard painted with black bars cut-outs to create a "Prison".

Effect:

"Happy Heart" is free as a bird, but "Unhappy Heart" is put behind the bars in prison when a person says nasty things, is spiteful or does hateful things.  When "Unhappy Heart" comes to Jesus and asks Him to change his life, he is brought out of prison and turned around to show that he is now a "Happy Heart".

Age Group:

Grades 1 - 7 (7 to 14 years).

Theme:

Unforgiveness and hate will put you into a prison of your own making, but Jesus wants to set you free and teach you how to love others.

 

Lesson:

Do kids at your school form gangs of friends, and if you belong you are "Cool", or you don't belong you are a "Loser"? ( Let the children respond ). What about you, are you "Cool" or do other children call you a "Loser"?

And at home do you really love your brothers and sisters, or do you hate them?  Do they treat you nicely or are they always nasty and spiteful towards you?  And how do you treat them in turn?  Are you also nasty and spiteful, push them them around and kick and punch them?  Do you take their toys or belongings and deliberately break them?  Do you tell tales on them, when they do something wrong?

If you do things like this then your heart full of envy, jealousy, unkindness and hate.  This is especially so if you are always trying to get your own back on them.  Being left out, jealous or envious can cause many children to hate others.  Galatians 5:15 warns us:

"If you keep on hating and devouring each other,
watch out or you will be destroyed by each other."

This means that if we hate somone or are spiteful and say nasty things, eventually all you will have left is a pile of dry bones!

Imprisoned:

This is not the way that Jesus taught us.  He said that must be willing to forgive one another and that we should love our enemies (see Matthew 5:43-45a and 6:14-15), and do good to them and pray for them.  We need to love one another, as this shows that we are Christians and that Jesus is living in our hearts.

Hate and anger can imprison us so that we lose all our joy and happiness as Christians.  I have here "Unhappy Heart" ( Hold up the Unhappy Heart ).  She has being saying some nasty things about a boy at school and now that person is hurting.  "Unhappy Heart" has put herself into the "Prison of Hate" ( Put the Unhappy Heart behind the bars of the Prison ).   You can see her glaring through the bars as she thinks of what she would like to do and say to that boy at school!

Set Free:

Fortunately, "Unhappy Heart" went next Sunday to Childrenís Church where she heard her teacher read Titus 3:3-7 which says:

"At one time we lived ...... being hated and hating one another.
But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us."

"Unhappy Heart listened to how Jesus loves her and then she asked Jesus to come into her heart and take away all her hatefulness and nastiness.  Today, "Unhappy Heart" no longer says spiteful things or is nasty to people. She has been changed inside and now only wants to do good and say nice things.   And so, she has been released from the prison of hate and is now the "Happy Heart" ( Turn over the heart and slide the Happy Heart out of the prison and hold her up ).

Remember, when you say or think unkind words, or do something nasty, you have become an "Unhappy Heart" ( Show the Unhappy Heart again ). Your bad feelings, unforgiveness and hate will put you into a prison of your own making.  And Satan is very happy to keep you there.

Getting Free:

But, Jesus wants to release you and help you forgive others, get over your jealousy and teach you how to love others.  He wants to bring the love of God into our lives and fill us so full of love.  Then there wonít be any room for unforgiveness, jealousy and hatred in our hearts.  Letís pray now that Jesus will begin pouring in that love deep into our hearts:

Dear Lord Jesus, I have not been very nice to people this week and have said some nasty and unkind things.  Please take all the bad thoughts and hate out of my heart and make me clean inside.  Fill me with Your love so that I can learn to love other people.  Help me to say only kind things to them.  Thank You for hearing my prayer.  Amen.

God bless!
 

Copyright © Sharon Children's Ministries

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