Dealing With Bad Language {James 3:1-10}

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Bad language isn’t only those words that are inappropriate. Helping our children understand bad language can be harmful to themselves and others is a step in the right direction on the narrow path of godliness. {Deuteronomy 5:32}

Scripture Focus: James 3:1-10 (The Message) 

Materials: old place mat, 3 tea bags (cut off the top and dump out the tea), scissors, and a lighter; a picture of a horse with a bridle (if you have a real bridle that would be even better!); a picture of a ship’s rudder

For a video to see what the tea bag rocket will do CLICK HERE.Bad language

Free Poster:  Click on the image below and print.

Bad languageBible and Object Lesson on Dealing with Bad Language:

{Have the place mat on the table in front of you. But do not put anything else on it. Have your pictures near by.}

What do you think of when I say, “Bad Language”? [Allow answers. Make sure you tell the kids to not actually SAY any bad words. Lead the discussion to include saying words that might hurt another person, lying words, manipulative words, and gossip.]

God has a lot to say about our tongues. Most of it isn’t good.

{Hold up the picture of the horse. Explain where the bridle is and what it does. Then hold up the picture of the ship rudder and explain how the direction of the ship changes with the movement of the rudder.}

The bridle is small compared to the horse, The rudder is small compared to the ship. Our tongues are small compared to the rest of our bodies, however, scripture tells us that it causes the most damage.

{Read James 3: 1-10. I really like The Message version of these verses. Skip the first 5 sentences.}

So what can our tongue be like? [the bridle, the rudder, a small flame] What happens when a bridle doesn’t work correctly? [the horse won’t do what the rider wants.] What happens when the rudder doesn’t work correctly? [The ship could run aground and wreck.] Where do we see tame animals? [the circus, the zoo, amusement parks] What tame animals have you seen before? [dogs, cats, birds….may expend into tigers, elephants, whales, and seals.] What does it mean that those animals are tame? [The animals will do what their master wants them to do.] Can we tame the tongue? [No.]

{Place the tea bag upside down on the place mat.}

The book of James has given us quite a few word pictures about our tongues. Our tongues are like the bridle of a horse and the rudder of a ship. Our tongues can give directions or cause damage. Our tongue can also be like a small flame.

{Light the tea bag. It should burn and the last little bit of the bag should fly quickly into the air with the last of the flame and disappear.}

Life Application for Dealing with Bad Language:

One little flame can burn down an entire forest. But this flame, it flew for a moment and disappeared. That’s what our words do. They fly out of our mouths quickly and then the words are gone and you can never get them back. We can’t get the paper back.

Every bad word you say, every hurtful word you say, every bit of juicy gossip you say can never be returned to you. And your words can either cause good or they can cause damage.

{Hold up the poster. Read it aloud.}

People can tame all kinds of wild animals, but we have a had time taming the tongue. It will be THE hardest thing for you to control. One moment we are blessing God with our mouth and the next moment we might be saying a mean thing about a friend.

What do we do?

We must remember that every person is created in the image of God. When you speak poorly of another person, you are speaking about someone God created for a special purpose. You are insulting God. Every person is valuable whether you see the value or not.

Be careful with what you say. You cannot take your words back. No amount of apologies or forgiveness can change what you said. Later in the book of James, he talks about reputation. Will you have a good reputation if you use bad language?

What can you do if someone around you uses bad language? It is fine to ask them to not speak that way around you. It might be a hard thing to do, and they might turn some harsh words your way, but in the end, doing the right thing is better than being surrounded and tempted by sin.

What can we learn from the book of James? If we want to be godly, then we must watch our words or we might end up hurting ourselves or others.

{Display the poster in the room throughout this series and read it each week.}

Follow Up Activities:

Watch Your Mouth (Teens)

Control Your Speech Sunday School Lesson

Trouble with the Tongue (Youth)

Sunday School Lesson: Using the Tongue

A Lesson on Taming the Tongue

Bible Games and Crafts

Taming the Tongue

The Tongue

godliness series for kids**Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to FutureFlyingSaucers so you don’t miss the next lesson. And be sure to share this lesson with your friends. It’s your sharing that helps us spread the gospel around the world!


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