Bible Story: Mercy, Mercy Me (Love Your Enemies) • Matthew 5:43-48
Bottom Line: Be kind to people who aren’t kind to you.
Key Question: How can you be kind to people you don’t get along with?
Memory Verse: “Do to others as you want them to do to you.” Luke 6:31 (NIrV)
Life App: Kindness—Showing others they are valuable by how you treat them
Basic Truth: I should treat others the way I want to be treated.
Story: Communicating God’s Truth in Engaging Ways (Large Group, 35 minutes)
Engage kids’ hearts through a dynamic and interactive Bible story, worship, and prayer experience in a Large Group setting.
SFX: Play high-energy music as kids enter.
CG: Rewind Theme Slide Host enters.
Host has lots of energy as he or she welcomes everyone to [Name of Environment]. Host is relatable and inviting. Host can talk about something that happened culturally throughout the week like a big sports game (Super Bowl), movie opening, or a viral video on YouTube, etc. February events include: The Winter Olympics during February 9-25, Valentine’s Day on February 14, and Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17. Host tells them how excited he or she is that they’re there and briefly runs through what they can expect. This is especially helpful for first-time guests to make them feel like they know what’s happening.
Opener HOST: “Hey everyone! I’ve got a great game to get us started today. Our theme this month is Rewind: Kindness Deserves a Replay, so we’ve been celebrating some of our favorite movies. Now, I know many of you know your Disney movie heroes, but I’m wondering . . . how are you at identifying Disney movie villains?”
“We’re going to go guys versus girls this time. Let me get three guys and three girls up here who think they’re Disney experts.”
Host chooses three guys and three girls and has the boys face the girls on stage (like Family Feud). Give each team something they can use as a buzzer (rubber ducky, flag, bell, etc.). “In just a moment, an image will appear on the screen. You’ll see a series of emojis together that will hopefully make you think of a movie. Now, I DON’T NEED THE NAME OF THE MOVIE! I need the villain from that movie. So when you hit the buzzer and I call on you, give me the famous villain from that movie. You got it? All right, let’s go!”
“Here’s our first movie. Can you name that villain?”
CG: Emoji Villain Game Slide 1a Host calls on the first team to buzz in and gives them a chance to answer. If they get it wrong or can’t answer, the other team gets a chance to guess. Reveal the answer slide once the teams have guessed. CG: Emoji Villain Game Slide 1b Host leads them through all seven clues and seven answers. CG: Emoji Villain Game Slides (#2-7) HOST: “Wow! You guys really know your movie villains! This time, the [guys/girls] are the champions. Thanks for playing.”
Host dismisses contestants to their seats.
“Now let’s stand and worship!”
Communicator Script Introduction
Communicator: “What’s going on, my people?! As we get started today, imagine yourself sitting quietly in your math class. Now, you’re really good at math, and the teacher has just explained a really hard math problem. You understand exactly how she did it, but there are some people around you who look really confused. One of them is your best friend, and you decide to take the time to explain it to her, even though you are probably going to have to do some of your work at home now because of the time it took. But, hey, maybe it’s worth it; you’re a good friend—nice job!”
“But, as you are about get started with your own work, you feel a tap on your shoulder. You turn around and it is that kid. You know . . . the one that teases you and gets other people to laugh at you. The one kid that tripped you while you carried your lunch across the cafeteria. He asks, ‘Can you explain it to me, too?’ And your response?”
CG: GIF #1 of somebody telling somebody no “Now, let’s go to your soccer game. All throughout the game, this kid on the other team has been taking cheap-shots at you and trash talking. ‘How dare you say that about my mama!’ Then, while going for the ball, he trips and hurts his ankle. He’s lying on the ground. Your response?”
CG: GIF #2 of somebody hysterically laughing “Finally, let’s go to your own home. This kid who lives near you has been driving you crazy. He’s loud and obnoxious, yelling at cars as they drive by. He keeps taking stuff out of your yard without asking. And when it finally shows back up, it’s scratched or broken! The next day as you are walking out to the bus, you watch as someone backs his car over the kid’s bike, where it was left in the street. The kid comes running out of the house to find the mangled piece of metal. Your response?”
CG: GIF #3 of somebody pointing and laughing TENSION
COMMUNICATOR: “Now, all month long we’ve been talking about what God thinks about kindness. Showing kindness is definitely a wise choice. I think we all know that by now. But the truth is that just like these scenarios, you don’t always get along with everyone. You’ll always face the kid in your math class, the trash talker on the other team, or that kid in the neighborhood. So does that mean you’re off the hook? Can we just show kindness to the people who are kind to us, but we don’t have to worry about showing kindness to the people who aren’t? Wow, those are really good questions. I’m thinking we need to head to God’s Word and find out some answers. Sound good?”
COMMUNICATOR: “Thankfully Jesus Himself had something to say about this. Matthew records a famous series of teachings called The Sermon on the Mount. This is one of the longer teachings of Jesus that we have in our Bibles, and it has been called “The Sermon on the Mount” because on this particular day, Jesus and His followers were sitting on the side of a small mountain by the Sea of Galilee. Jesus explained how His followers could live as part of God’s kingdom.”
“Listen to what Jesus says. (Read directly from Matthew 5:43, NIrV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor. Hate your enemy . . .’”
“Pause. Now as Jesus says these words, I’m sure there were a lot of people shaking their heads ‘yes.’ In fact, there are probably a lot of people in the crowd responding like this . . .”
CG: GIF #4 of cheering (you know that’s right!) “See, that day when Jesus spoke to those crowds, several enemies might have come to mind. The whole country was controlled by the Romans, and they HATED the Romans. The Romans were mean and nasty. The people Jesus was talking to were constantly reminded that they weren’t truly free while the Romans ran the show!”
“And not only did they have enemies on the outside, like the Romans, but they had enemies on the inside, too! The Romans hired Jewish people as tax collectors. These were native people who would collect the taxes from their own people—taxes that would go to the Romans. And these tax collectors were crooks! They would take more than they were asked to and keep the extra!”
“And then there were the people living on the other side of the Sea of Galilee, the pagans of the Decapolis! These people stood for everything they were against.”
“Romans. Tax collectors. Pagans. There were PLENTY of enemies in that day. The people might have thought to themselves, ‘We’re with You, Jesus! We hate our enemies!’”
“But Jesus wasn’t finished speaking yet. Listen to this.”
(Continue reading from Matthew 5:44-45a, NIrV) But here is what I tell you. Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. Then you will be children of your Father who is in heaven.” “You know what the crowd is thinking when Jesus said that?”
CG: GIF #5 of somebody confused or dumbfounded “Showing kindness to enemies? That’s shocking! But did you catch the WHY? Jesus says when you do this, you will be like your Father in heaven. But we need to ask: how does God do that?”
“Jesus continues. (Read directly from Matthew 5:45b NIrV) ‘He causes his sun to shine on evil people AND good people. He sends rain on those who do right and those who don’t,’” (emphasis ours). “When God sends the sun, He doesn’t just send it to people who love Him or go to church or sing worship songs to Him. He sends the sun for everyone, because even God loves those who might not love Him back. And when God sends the rain, which we think maybe is a bad thing because it cancels our game or gets us wet when we’re walking home, but for them it was a good thing because it waters the crops. He doesn’t just send rain to people who read the Bible or go to [name of environment]. He sends the rain for everyone because even God loves those who might not love Him back.”
“In the passage, Jesus goes on to say that ANYBODY can love people who love them. Even the Romans or the tax collectors or the pagans can do that. But to show kindness to people who are pretty unkind to you? That is tough. That takes God’s help and God’s strength.”
COMMUNICATOR: “So let’s go back to your math class . . . and the bully who is tapping you on the shoulder asking for your help on math. Now think about what Jesus is saying. Anybody can help her best friend with math. That’s easy. But what if we want to take Jesus seriously and be like our Father in heaven? Then we are going to show kindness and help the bully understand the math problem.”
“Or think about the soccer game. If that were our teammate rolling on the ground with the ankle injury, it would be easy to help him up and walk him over to the bench. But when it is the kid who has been throwing cheap shots and trash-talking all game? That’s tough! But if we want to be like our Father in heaven, we’re going to reach down and help him up, put our arm around him and walk him to the bench.”
“Finally, let’s go back to the neighborhood and the obnoxious neighbor who had it coming when his bike got run over in his driveway. If that were our friend, we’d feel pretty bad for him . . . maybe even loan him our bike while he gets his fixed. But loaning our bike to the neighborhood kid who steals it half the time anyway?! You’ve gotta be crazy! But if we want to be like our Father in heaven, we’re going to walk over, help him collect all the bike pieces, and maybe even offer to let him borrow our bike.”
“Now, I’m not saying that you are going to best friends with everybody. And to be honest, there are some people who are hard to trust and you shouldn’t hang around with. But there is always a way to show kindness, even to the people who are not kind to us.”
LANDING COMMUNICATOR: “So . . . as you head to small group, I want you to think about your own lives right now and who you might say it is a challenge to be kind to right now. And even though I gave three examples, I’ll bet you have some even better ones that you can discuss as a group. And as you share, I want you to consider this question: How can you be kind to people you don’t get along with?”
CG: Key Question Slide “Wouldn’t that be amazing if this week you acted just like your Father in Heaven and showed kindness to the most unexpected people? It might even make them go like this . . .”
CG: GIF #6 of somebody complete shocked/surprised (happy) “Let’s pray.”
Communicator leads group in a prayer related to what they just heard. After prayer, Communicator dismisses kids to Small Group.