Age range for lesson: 8-15 years old
James 3: 5-6 :
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of.
Mix unsweetened flavored drink mix, omitting the sugar. The best option is to make it in a clear container so that it still appears to be a regular drink. Have it ready to serve during the lesson. Also, have a small packet of sugar nearby. You will also need a chalkboard, whiteboard, or piece of poster board and a writing implement)
Say: Today we are discussing how using unkind and ungodly words can destroy. Before we talk about our words, let’s look at some examples of how small things can affect big things.
Have students read James 3:3-4.
Say: Look at verse 3. Do you know what a “bit” is? (Wait for student answers) It is a small metal piece which is placed into the horse’s mouth. It is attached to the bridle, which is the part which is used to control the horse’s movements. A bit is a very small piece, not much bigger than my hand (show hand). Think about how small that is when you compare it against the whole horse.
Now look at 4. Do you know what a “helm” is? (Wait for students). You may know it by a different name, the rudder. (Wait for replies). This is a small part of the ship, located at the back, which controls the steering of the ship. Like the horse bit, it is small when compared to the overall ship.
Are these small parts are important? (Wait for answer) Yes. Without them, the horse would run wild and the ship would veer off course. Let’s look at another example.
(Pour a glass of unsweetened drink) I am looking for a volunteer to try my new juice. I assure you it is safe. You see I am trying to eat fewer sweets, so I left out the sugar when I made it. Do I have any takers? (You may have one or two brave souls, but be ready. Have a bucket or sink on hand. Many times, students will just spit out the sour drink. ) As you can see, sugar is an important part of this drink. You may tell me you like the sourness, but most people prefer the sweet, thirst quenching drink.
Let’s look at verse 5.
Have students read James 3:5-6.
Say: Is your tongue a large or small part of your body? (Allow students to answer) Let’s do a little test. Stick out your tongue and hold it next to your hand. (Encourage students to do this by demonstrating it yourself) Do you see how much smaller our tongue is in relation with the rest of our body? Just like the rudder, the bit and even the sugar, our tongues are a small part. However, they can also be very powerful and dangerous. The bible says that it can start a fire. Does this mean our tongues breathe fire? No. It means our words can be dangerous. Have you ever had someone say something mean to you? (Allow students to answer) That pain can last a really long time.
Our tongue is a small part of who we are, but the words it makes define who we are. Are you like this drink? Without sugar, it is sour and undrinkable to most people. When we use our tongues and words in an ungodly way, we create a miserable and “sour” experience for others.
Help me think of some ways we can we use our words to lift people. (Have students come up with ideas. Write these ideas onto a chalkboard, whiteboard or piece of poster board) These ideas are great! They are a lot like this sugar. (Take packet of sugar and add to a cup of unsweetened juice and mix) See? Now the juice is something everyone would enjoy. It is not longer sour, and it is exactly what it is meant to be.
This week I encourage you to use words that are godly and “sweet”. Remember that every word we say can either start an angry fire or be a way to peace.
Take a moment to pray with the students.