Exodus 20:7; Matthew 12:33–37; James 3:3–12;
To help students think about the things they say and reflect on how these can help or hurt others.
Things you’ll need:
- Two or three ‘tongue twisters’.
- Display equipment (large pieces of card or PowerPoint and projector).
- Blindfolds (two or three should be enough)
- A few different foodstuffs for a taste test. Include contrasting foods: salty, sour, sweet – things the students will like and things they won’t. Avoid any to which people may have common allergies.
- Suitable containers and spoons.
- Write out your tongue twisters for display on card or PowerPoint.
- Put the chosen foods into the containers and make sure you have enough spoons as you have volunteers.
1 Start with all or some of these interactive ideas to introduce the theme of the tongue and what you say.
Get everyone saying one of the tongue twisters you have written up. Let them do it with the words on display at first, then without. If you have the words written on separate pieces of card, you could remove a few words at a time. Depending on the time available and enthusiasm of students, do one or two different ones.
Ask the students if any of them can curl their tongues. Can anyone touch their nose with their tongue?
Ask for two or three volunteers. Blindfold the students and ask them to taste some food (check first that your volunteers do not have dietary food allergies, eg nuts). Let the audience, but not the volunteers, know what’s being tasted. Ask your volunteers to guess what each foodstuff is.
2 Follow this up by pointing out how important the tongue is for talking. Ask students to think about the things they say.
- Do their words help others or hurt them?
- How much of what they say is positive and encouraging?
- Do they often swear or say negative things?
- Are they rude to others?
Ask them to think about the kind of words they use in their everyday speech, for example: in the last couple of days have they said words which have hurt or encouraged someone else? Have they been rude to anyone, or sworn at someone?
Say that you are going to read some things about the importance of the words we use from the Bible. Use a contemporary version (eg CEV or– the Youth Bible, NCV).
- Read James 3:3–12. Comment on the passage, giving some examples of how a few words can cause enormous problems. The students might have some examples of their own. Emphasise how we can let good and bad words come out of our mouths. These verses suggest that the words we say have something to do with the kind of people we are on the inside (verse 12).
- Read Exodus 20:7. How do you use God’s name? As a swear word? The Ten Commandments talk about not misusing God’s name. Even if you don’t believe in God, remember that lots of people do. When you use God’s name in this way you might be offending others.
- Ask students to think about how they speak to people. Is it good and positive? Or unkind and often putting others down?
- There’s the suggestion in the Bible verses that thinking about God – what he’s like, how he wants us to live – will make a difference to the kind of people we are on the inside. For example, what’s your thought life like? Are there ways in which you need to change on the inside?
- Decide to do something positive about the words you use today. You could try today:
- not to swear;
- not to use God’s name as a swear word;
- to say something positive and encouraging to at least one person today.
4 Encourage students to ask God to help them do what they’ve decided.