Aim: To help the children: to know that the tongue can help them say good and bad things; to appreciate the power of this wonderful part of their bodies; and to decide to use it to praise God and say good things.
Verse Illustrated: James 3:6 The tongue also is a fire.
Presentation: Play guessing game with children about what you brought, discuss tongue and its power, challenge children to use it well.
Interest Getter: Today, I brought something small but extremely powerful and you don’t see it. You all brought one with you, too, but I don’t see them. What do you think it is? You can use it to make people feel good or bad. It is red. It is usually hidden behind something white. (Rub your tongue over your lips to help them guess what you are talking about. Continue giving clues until someone guesses “tongue”).
Lesson: Yes! I have my tongue and it is a very important part of my body – and you have yours and that is very important, too! Can you show me your tongues? Good, thank you. You can close your mouths now. What do our tongues help us to do? Taste our food, chew our food, talk, etc. Hold your tongue tight and say “Potatoes”. Can you say it clearly? No! Our tongues help us to speak clearly.
Do you know what the Bible calls the tongue? It calls it a “fire” in James 3:6. Do you know you have a fire in your mouth? Why do you think the Bible calls it that? It is because a person can use his or her tongue to “burn” the things around them. For example, if a person shouts at you, “Move!”, you might get angry, burn up, and shout back. You might start a fight and the whole room could start fighting, all because someone used his or her tongue in a rude way. Of course, you know that is the wrong way to react, but some people do it. Or, think about this. In that very chapter, the Bible says that the same person uses the tongue to both praise God and curse God. Is that right? No! We should not curse God or anyone else.
What are some burning words you can say with your tongue? “That’s mine!” “No!” “I don’t like you.”
Is a fire always bad? No. It can cook our food, it gives warmth and light. It is good or bad, depending on how we use it.
The tongue isn’t always bad, either. God gave it to us to use well. What are some nice words we say with our tongues? “Thank you.” “I’m sorry.” “It’s OK.” “You can play with this.” “I’ll help.” “I love you, Mom.” “I love you, Jesus.” “Jesus loves you.”
Application: Just as a fire can be good or bad, useful or destructive – depending on how it is used, our tongues can say helpful things or hurtful things. Who decides what we say? We do! We need to control our tongues and our thinking so that we say and do good things that please Jesus.
Conclusion: Let’s pray and ask God who gave us our powerful tongues to help us use them to say good things. And let us do our best to speak lovingly and to act lovingly even if others use their tongues in ways that hurt us. (Pray).