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(Don’t be bitter or resentful.)
Objective: To discourage children from becoming bitter or resentful.
Scripture: “Get rid of bitterness.” Ephesians 4:31
- Bitter foods for tasting (like dark chocolate or cocoa, coffee beans or ground coffee, kale strips, etc. Make sure no child tries food he/she is allergic to.)
- Drinking water
- Some spoons or forks as needed
Transcript: Children’s-Sermon – Don’t Be Bitter – Ephesians 4:31
Hello boys and girls! Today, we’ll be talking about bitterness. Have you tried bitter foods? Do you eat them? Do you like them? What do you think about these bitter foods? Can you handle tasting them? (Lay out bitter foods and let willing children try them out.) What do you think? Can you eat these types of bitter foods every day and every time? Can you eat a lot? Why not?
Some people like bitter food. When taken with other ingredients, they can bring out the best in meals. Dark chocolate is bitter but healthy, they say. You can have a little bite daily if you can handle it. We can hear of people eating and appreciating bitter food in small quantities but we can also guess that in large quantities, most may not find it appetizing. It may dominate or overpower the other ingredients and fail to bring joy during a meal. A constant taste of bitterness brings heaviness on your taste buds and may ruin mealtime for you.
Let’s think about that as we listen to what Ephesians 4:31 has to say. The verse tells us to “get rid of all bitterness.” Of course this is not pointing to bitterness in food. It’s talking about a feeling or emotion. It’s talking about an attitude or way of thinking. In life and in relationships, do you know what it means to have bitterness or to be bitter? When we are bitter about something towards someone, what does it mean?
Bitterness is a negative feeling and attitude you have towards someone about something. It’s like resentment. When you are resentful, you feel sore and very bad about something that was done to you (or not done for you) by someone. You just can’t let go. You can’t forgive nor forget. You may hold a grudge at the same time that you are bitter towards a friend who forgot to keep his/her promise. You may resent how your parents dealt with you about something this past week. You may feel very unfairly treated and some kind of hurt and anger may still be going on inside of you up to now. That’s a sign of bitterness. Another sign of bitterness is when you’re disappointed with someone and so you’ve been holding that disappointment against him or her.
Have you felt any of this? Has any of these been going through your mind and heart? Are you feeling any of these now? The Bible says it is best for you to let that go, to get rid of that feeling and thought. When you get rid of bitterness, you release yourself from the anger and hate. You tell yourself that enough is enough and that you’ve decided to stop being angry and to stop being hateful. You do not deny what happened, but you’re choosing to forgive and to get over it. Sure, it may happen again. Nobody’s perfect, we all make mistakes. But right now, as of this moment, you’re deciding to stop holding that fault and failure against someone.
Kids, when you let go of bitterness, you’re the one who benefits most. You start feeling better, lighter. Happiness comes back, your mood improves. You stop being a complainer or a nagger. You stop nitpicking at other people’s faults and weaknesses. You begin to be more patient. And you know what? God loves and blesses a forgiving heart. Think about each time God didn’t punish you for your mistakes. Think about each time He surprised you with blessings and gifts even if you didn’t do anything to earn it. Think about all the good God’s been doing in your life especially when you feel let down or when somebody has hurt you. Focus on that and don’t let bitterness grow within you. Get rid of bitterness and have better, happier days.