Lesson 1: Family Feud
Every family has struggles. There are days when we get along wonderfully with our brothers, sisters, cousins, etc. There are other days when everything they do gets on our nerves and all we do is fuss and fight. It’s not a surprise when members of the same family fight or argue. That’s to be expected. What we can’t let happen is for those short fights and arguments to turn into “family feuds.” If we don’t try to reconcile quickly, there may be permanent damage done to the family. In this lesson, the children will learn how to put an end to the fights and arguments that creep up in the life of an ordinary family.
Character: Silly Willy (a hyperactive puppet that thrives on “scaring” the leader; feel free to use any puppet character that your kids are familiar with from your services)
Silly Willy: (make some noise over by the puppet stage; when the leader comes to check it out, Silly Willy pops up and scares the leader and starts laughing hysterically)
Leader: Silly Willy! You shouldn’t scare people like that! It’s not funny!
Silly Willy: Well, I think it’s hilarious, don’t you kids? (kids respond)
Leader: Well, I’m getting too old for that.
Silly Willy: Yeah, I noticed. You’re so old, your first pet was a dinosaur.
Leader: Silly Willy!
Silly Willy: You’re so old, you have Adam and Eve’s autograph!
Leader: OK, enough about my age, Silly Willy. We have a lot to learn today about how to end a “Family Feud.”
Silly Willy: What’s a family feud?
Leader: Well, it’s when we get mad at someone in our family or they get mad at us.
Silly Willy: You mean, like my do-do bird sister!
Leader: Silly Willy! First of all, I don’t think you should call your sister those kinds of names.
Silly Willy: Why not? She calls me names! She calls me things that really hurt my feelings. Like the other day she told me I was so ugly, I could go trick or treating dressed as myself.
Leader: Well, that’s not a very nice thing to say is it?
Silly Willy: Nope, that’s why I told her something back. I said, “Oh yeah, well you’re so dumb that your dog teaches YOU tricks!”
Leader: Silly Willy! That’s not the way you are supposed to respond. You shouldn’t say things like that to your sister.
Silly Willy: It doesn’t matter anymore. We’re not talking to each other ever again.
Leader: Silly Willy! That’s not the way families are supposed to be. We are learning in our lesson today that God wants families to love each other and get along. Even when we do get in fights and arguments, we have to do our part to make peace with the other person.
Silly Willy: Yeah, but she’s the one who started it, not me!
Leader: Well, that may be true. But, our Power Verse today teaches us that we have to do everything we can to make peace with everyone as much as possible. We can’t wait for the other person to apologize. We have to do our part and forgive them so that the family can be put back together.
Silly Willy: But, that’s hard to do. She hurt my feelings.
Leader: I know. But, you said some things that hurt her feelings as well. It’s time for YOU to make the first move and make peace.
Silly Willy: You’re right. I should act more like Jesus, huh? He’s always ready to forgive me when I mess up.
Leader: Now, you’re talking! I think you need to go take care of that right now, don’t you?
Silly Willy: I sure do. Thanks for talking some sense into me.
Leader: That’s what I’m here for. See you later, Silly Willy!
Silly Willy: Bye! See ya kids! (exits)
- Play: Game Slide
Take Your Toys And Go Home
You will need: Space to play, chairs
How to play:
1.Arrange the chairs in a circle. Have one less chair than the number of players.
2.All players but one sit in the chair and one player stands in the center.
3.The players will then say “Take your toys and go home if you...” and point at one of the sitting members.
For example, players can say:
“Take your toys and go home if you are wearing a black shirt.”
“Take your toys and go home if you have red hair.”
"Take your toys and go home if you play basketball.”
And so on.
4.When the player says “Take your toys and go home if you...”, anyone who meets the criteria has to leave their seat and try to get into another one while it is empty.
5.The player in the middle also tries to find a vacant seat while the players exchange places.
6.In the end, there is one player left.
Today we are talking about a very important subject, the “Family Feud.” Have you ever got in an argument with your brother or your sister? What is it about brothers and sisters that they seem to get in arguments all the time. (tell a quick story about a time you got in a fight with a family member; talk about how silly it was and how it made you feel) Maybe your family has gotten in fights before. If so, it may have looked something like this:
Have the two helpers walk in; one of them has a toy the other one wants.
Boy: Hey! I had that first!
Girl: No, you didn’t! I did!
Boy: Give it!
Girl: No! It’s mine! MOM!
Boy: Fine! Keep it! I’m never talking to you again!
Girl: Fine! I don’t care!
Boy: I hate you! (stomps off stage)
Girl: I hate you MORE! (stomps off stage in the other direction)
Does this look familiar? It’s almost unavoidable in families. Things happen and we get in fights and arguments. But, what do we do then? Do we let the fight go on? Do we apologize? Well, we are going to look at two brothers in the Bible today and learn some important lessons about all of that.
Jacob and Esau were twin brothers. Esau was the oldest (by seconds) and Jacob was the youngest. It was the tradition back then that the oldest son got what was called the “birthright.” This meant that when the father died, the oldest son got ALL of his possessions, his money, his land, everything. All of this would be given to Esau when his father blessed him right before he died.
Well, Jacob did something that was very bad. He dressed up like Esau and went before his father, who was totally blind. He tricked his father into blessing HIM instead of Esau. That meant that Jacob stole Esau’s birthright from him. How many of you would be mad if your brother or sister stole something that belonged to you?
Allow children to respond
Well, Esau got more than just a little upset. He threatened to KILL Jacob, so Jacob took all of his things and ran for his life. Years and years went by, and the brothers never talked to each other or saw each other. This was a family feud all right. One for the record books.
Well, we pick up this story in Genesis 32. Jacob and Esau haven’t spoken for years, but Jacob hears that Esau and his family are close by. So, Jacob has a choice. Does he ignore Esau?
Does he choose to continue the family feud? He could have chosen that, but he decided it was time to end the family feud because God wants family’s to get along.
So, today we are going to read this story in Genesis 32 and learn several cool lessons about how to end a family feud. What’s the first step?
The Bible says that Jacob sent messengers to Esau and told him that he wanted to make up for what he did. He offered gifts, animals, and other things in order to make Esau know that he was serious. He didn’t wait for Esau to come to him. He went to Esau.
Kids, that’s what we need to do. If we are fighting with someone in our family, it’s OUR responsibility to make the first move. If both sides wait on the other one to apologize, the family feud will NEVER be over. When your sister makes you mad, YOU go to her and tell her you forgive her. When your brother is upset at you for making fun of him, YOU go to him and tell him you are sorry. Make the first move. That’s what Jacob did, and we should too.
The second step in ending our family feud is:
It’s not always easy to make the first move. Sometimes we need to ask God for help. That’s what Jacob did. When he heard that his brother was definitely coming to meet him, he got down on his knees and prayed to God. Here is what he said.
He said, ““God, I’m frightened. In fact, I’m scared to death that Esau is going to kill me and my family. God – please help me.” Kids, when we are in a family feud, making the first move and talking to the person after a long time is pretty scary. We need to ask God for help. God will always help us have the courage, the strength, and the forgiveness we need to make things right.
The next thing you know it, Jacob arrives at Esau’s camp. Jacob runs out to meet Esau. Instead of tearing into him and saying, “It’s about time you got here. You’ve been mad at me long enough. Get over it already!” Jacob kept a humble attitude, went to greet his brother Esau by bowing down before him like a servant. What was Jacob doing? He was doing step three:
Jacob didn’t start telling Esau off. He didn’t start listing all the things Esau had done wrong. He bowed before him in humility. That’s what we need to do. Don’t go to your brother or sister with a chip on your shoulder. Go to them with a humble attitude and simply say, “I am sorry.” Or, “I forgive you.”
So, what happened next in the story of Jacob and Esau? Jacob has lied and cheated and stole from his brother. His brother had wanted to kill him. But, Jacob made the first move, asked God for help, and kept a humble attitude. Did his brother accept? Did his brother punch him in the face?
The Bible tells us in Genesis 33 that Esau ran toward Jacob and gave him a huge hug! He forgave his brother and they both celebrated the family being brought back together. When a family comes back together, we call that “Restoration.” So, if you follow steps 1-3, you can move on to step four just like Jacob and Esau:
Families were not meant to be angry at each other. That’s why we have to follow the example of Jacob and make the first move, ask God for help, keep a humble attitude, then we can celebrate restoration when the feud is over and the family is happy again. Isn’t that awesome?
Play soft music
Altar response: Some of the kids may be fighting with members of their family right now. Or, they may have member of their family that are angry at each other and are not talking. Pray for all of the families represented in the room. Pray that God will help them make the first move and keep a humble attitude. When it is over, they can celebrate restoration and the fact that the family is back where God wants them.
Ask the following questions:
- Silly Willy was upset because his sister called him ________. Answer: ugly.
- Who was older, Jacob or Esau? Answer: Esau
- How did Jacob steal Esau’s brithright? Answer: He dressed up like his brother and tricked his dad.
- Was Esau mad at Jacob after he stole his birthright? Answer: Yes, he wanted to kill him.
- The first step in ending a family feud is to “Make the first __________.” Answer: move
- The second step in ending a family feud is to “Ask ______ for help.” Answer: God
- The third step in ending a family feud is to “Keep a ______ attitude.” Answer: humble
- The final step in ending a family feud is to “Celebrate _________.” Answer: Restoration
- What was today’s Big Idea? Answer: “No Matter How You’ve Done Me Wrong, I Know We Can Get Along!”
- What was today’s Power Verse? Answer: “Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.” - Romans 12:18
At Home Instructions
- Play: Family Devotion
The Big Idea No Matter How You’ve Done Me Wrong, I Know We Can Get Along!
Power Verse: Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.” - Romans 12:18
Admitting you’re wrong and asking for forgiveness is never fun, but learning how to do it when you’re young can make it easier later on. Explain to your children that there are three steps in the forgiveness process: admit you’re wrong, ask for forgiveness, and make things right. Tell them to pretend they broke a toy they weren’t supposed to be playing with, and then have them repeat the following sentences:
- It was wrong for me to play with that toy. I’m sorry I broke it.
- Will you forgive me?
- What can I do to make it right?
Parents, it’s your job to help your children understand what they’ve done wrong. In the scenario above, breaking the toy wasn’t the issue—it was probably an accident. The child disobeyed by playing with the toy in the first place. Make sure your child knows what he or she did wrong; otherwise, instead of being sorry they disobeyed, they may just be sorry that they got caught.
Talk about the following scenes with your children. Ask your children what the person did that was wrong and how he or she should ask for forgiveness.
- Sarah said mean things to a friend
- Michael didn’t clean his room when his mother told him to
- Abby rode her bike through a neighbor’s yard and ran over some flowers
- Justin played a trick on a friend that caused his friend to be embarrassed
Pray together, asking God to give you the courage to seek forgiveness when you’ve done something wrong. Thank Him for always forgiving you when you repent.