Judgment is a difficult subject, especially when teaching it to kids. Sunday school teachers need creative ways to teach children that they should not judge others, but should value them as fellow children of God. They do, though, need to develop discernment and show good judgment when it comes to their own choices. Another challenging aspect of this topic is God's judgment in the afterlife.
Ask the kids in your class to name groups of people who are sinners. Remind them not to mention any names. Write the groups on a chalkboard or flip chart. Ask students whether they think Jesus would have spent time with any of these groups of people. Ask how they think Jesus might have treated them. Then read them the story of Zacchaeus from Luke 19:1-10. Ask the questions again. Have students draw a tree on a piece of paper or cut one out from brown construction paper. Then have them cut out leaves or draw leaves on the tree. On each leaf, have them write the name of a group of people or type of person that Jesus came to save. At the end of the lesson, have students think about how Jesus would want them to treat people they think are sinners. Discuss why Christians need to be careful about judging others.
Talk to your students about how the Bible teaches that we will be judged by what we do on the final Judgment Day. Talk about how God expects us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison and give water to those who are thirsty. Print out a piece of paper with a picture of Jesus in the middle and the words "What Would Jesus Do?" on the bottom. Make enough copies so each child can have one. Then print out a piece of paper with the words "What Will I Do?" and make copies for each child. Have each child draw pictures or write words of the things that they think Jesus would do if He lived today. Then have them draw pictures or write sentences about what they will do. Guide them to be as specific as possible. If they say they will feed the hungry, ask them how they will find the hungry and what it means to give food to someone who is hungry.
Goat and Sheep Sock Puppets
Ask parents to donate clean, unmatched socks that they no longer need. Tell the kids the story of the goat and the sheep from Matthew 25:31-36. Give each student two socks. Tell them that they're going to make one sock puppet that is a goat and one that is a sheep. Provide them with glue, yarn, cotton balls, googly eyes and paper. Encourage them to make ears, tails, horns, etc. Once everyone has made their puppets, act out the story of the parable of the goats and the sheep using the puppets. Either have the teacher play the role of King or let a child volunteer.
Solomon's Scavenger Hunt
Gather several old magazines that have a lot of pictures in them. If possible, use Christian magazines that have pictures from ancient Biblical time in them, though this is not necessary. Old National Geographics could also make a good choice. Give each student a magazine. Tell your class that you are going to read them a story twice. While you read the story, they are going to look for pictures that fit the story and cut them out from the magazine. Then have students tape the pictures up to the wall or pin them to a bulletin board and re-tell the story to you. Then read them the story of the Judgment of Solomon from Kings 3:16-28.
As a professional writer since 1985, Bridgette Redman's career has included journalism, educational writing, book authoring and training. She's worked for daily newspapers, an educational publisher, websites, nonprofit associations and individuals. She is the author of two blogs, reviews live theater and has a weekly column in the "Lansing State Journal." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University.