Grudges Weigh You Down

Scripture: Genesis 42-50

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the story of Joseph’s brothers coming to Egypt to receive grain.
  • Students will participate in a racing game using balls to feel how burdensome grudges can be.
  • Students will learn that it is important to forgive others so that we can demonstrate God’s love and help others in the future.

Guiding Questions:

  • How do grudges weigh us down and hurt those we love?
  • How does showing forgiveness help our relationships?

Materials: Masking tape for a starting line and a finish line, small balls or crumpled pieces of paper in the shape of balls

Procedure: Have each student line up at the starting line. At the finish line across from them, there should be lots of balls. These balls are “grudges.” They have to run to the finish line and back as many times as they can before the teacher signals the end of the race. Each time they reach the finish line they have to grab a ball and continue racing back and forth. They cannot drop any of their balls. If they do, they must stop, pick it up, and continue. During the race it should get more and more difficult for students to run quickly and balance all of their “grudges.” If you have lots of students, assign 2-4 students to each “team”. Team mates can cheer their runner on until it is their turn.

After the race, lead a discussion on the importance of forgiveness and the danger of grudges. How did the race become more difficult as more “grudges” were collected? When we don’t forgive others, it causes bad feelings that weigh us down and cause us to loose relationships. Forgiving someone who is apologetic often makes the person that we needed to forgive treat us better too. Even though it was hard for Joseph to be sold by his brothers, the act eventually saved their family’s life! Sometimes we don’t understand why people treat us badly, but God can use it for good. What kinds of actions do you find difficult to forgive? What do you sometimes do that requires others to forgive you? Treating others the way we want to be treated instead of the way they deserve is very important. You often don’t gain anything by holding a grudge except bad feelings.

Additional Questions:

  • How would the story have been different had Joseph not forgiven his brothers and punished them instead?
  • How did forgiveness make Joseph feel? How did it make his brothers feel? How do you think this effected their dad?

Supplemental Activities:

  • Have students write down an action that someone has done to them that was hard for them to forgive (not necessarily the name of the person). Have students crumple the ball and toss it into a campfire to symbolize letting go of the grudge. When someone is forgiven it dissipates and gives a sense of freedom to the forgiver and the forgiven.
  • Let students role play how to have a forgiveness conversation. Write offenses that kids might encounter (such as a friend taking a toy) on slips of paper and place them in a hat or basket. Teach students how to ask for forgiveness and give it. Then let them role play by drawing out a card and having the students act it out with a partner. Use sentence starters such as: “Even though it hurt my feelings, I can tell you are really sorry for ______. I forgive you.” Emphasize that giving forgiveness does not mean you were not hurt, but it does mean that you will not hold on to feelings of anger as you interact with the person.

Written by: Savannah Negas