Who is Without Sin?
After taking balled-up pieces of paper and pretending to stone a sinner, the children will compare judging others to having sin in their own lives.
Acceptance, Judging, Sin
About 25 sheets of 8½" by 11" paper
Approximately 10 minutes
WHAT YOU WILL DO:
First, give each child a blank sheet of paper. Have them roll it up into a ball. Then ask one of the larger kids to volunteer to pretend that they were caught committing a terrible crime. Have them stand in the middle of the room. Tell the class "In Jesus' day, when people were caught committing certain crimes, the punishment may have been to get "stoned to death" by the people living in the village. Should we stone this criminal?" The children will most likely shout yes, but tell them not to throw above the waist and not to throw hard so the child will not get hurt or frightened. Then ask the children how they felt while throwing the "stones". Was it fun? Did you feel good about it? Let them know that their reactions were probably very similar to those in Jesus' time.
Then give each child another blank sheet of paper and a pencil or marker. This time, however, tell them not to roll it up just yet because they will be writing something on it first.
Have the kids think of a recent time that they sinned, such as telling a lie about their homework, arguing with their parents, or a time they were disobedient, etc. Tell them to write that sin on the paper. Next, have the children think of how many times they sinned during the past week. Remind them of all the things that may be considered a sin, and have them write the number down on the piece of paper. Then tell them to ball-up the paper as before and hold on to it.
Next have the children look up and read John 8:3-11. Ask a volunteer to pretend they have committed a crime, like adultery as in the Bible passage, or any other serious crime. Then ask the class, "Should we stone this criminal? Remember in the story Jesus said 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone.' Who is without sin in this class?" (Make sure the children understand that they cannot throw the paper because they have sinned.) "That's right, we have all sinned. Even Jesus said that 'everyone has sinned, and falls short of the glory of God'. Before we judge someone else for doing wrong, we need to look at our own lives and ask ourselves if we are any better. Like the woman in the story, we should go and try our best not to sin anymore."