While "sin" sounds like a sinister word, it is a simple way to designate all the wrong choices a person makes, the wrong things said and done, and the things that are against the principles God laid out. Activities to help children understand the sin of cheating, stealing and greed start with helping the children “see” the consequences of sin as well as the forgiveness Jesus offers for Christians.
Talk about what cheating means -- dishonesty, fraud, getting something like a grade, honor or certification by trickery or deceit. Write these definitions on the board. Ask the students to imagine they are in an airplane high over the ocean. Have them line up their chairs with an aisle as though in an airplane. Discuss how they'd feel about the trip. When you announce, “Our pilot for this trip is Dan Smith.” Have a student gasp. “No, not Dan Smith!”
If the other students do not ask what's wrong, you should do so. The student should explain, “My dad went to pilot's school with Dan Smith and said Dan cheated his way through school.”
Ask the students how they feel about that. Then say, “Oh now, we lost an engine.”
Say, “A person who cheated through school is now faced with a real-life situation for which he many not be adequately prepared. What would you do now?” Discuss the real consequences of cheating.
Hand out doughnuts to the class. As the class enjoys the treat, have someone come into the classroom grab a doughnut from one of the students and begin to eat it, with obvious enjoyment. Have the person grab a purse and Bible as well, before leaving the room. Discuss how the class feels about stealing — taking what doesn't belong to them. Ask how the students felt about losing their things and how the others felt at having someone steal from their classmates. (Have everything returned and a new doughnut handed out.) Ask what would happen if the student had medicine in her purse that she needed. Using Leviticus 19:11, explain why God doesn't like stealing. Stealing hurts others. Have the class prepare a short skit on what they learned about stealing.
Ask the students to turn to Luke 12 and read verses 15 to 24 about the man who, instead of sharing his goods, just wanted to build bigger barns to store everything. Have the students write a play based on the story. Characters include Jesus and his disciples, God, the wealthy man and neighbors who ask for help or food. Discuss why things don't matter as much as people. Have the class come up with a project they can do to reach out to those in need.
Have students read I John 1:9. Have them write down a time they did something wrong -- that is, sinned. Have them fold up the paper. Discuss what sin is and how Jesus offers forgiveness to those who ask. Pair up the class and have them pray for one another and to ask forgiveness for what they wrote on their paper. Then have the students rip up the paper and throw it away. Tell them that once Jesus forgives, he forgets and that people should follow the same example.
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- “The New American Desk Encyclopedia”; Concord Reference Books; 1989
- “American Heritage Talking Dictionary”; Houghton Mifflin Co.; 1992
- Kids Sunday School: Who Is Without Sin?
Carolyn Scheidies has been writing professionally since 1994. She writes a column for the “Kearney Hub” and her latest book is “From the Ashes.” She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she has also lectured in the media department.