Jesus said in the Beatitudes in Matthew 5, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” What do you think “mercy” is? The answer you’re shooting for is this: Choosing to be kind to someone, when you have the option to be mean.  Here is a game to play with your students that reinforces the point of this lesson.

Object:  Learning to be merciful (the opposite of being mean),  To get to Mercy before Meanness Gets to You.

Materials Needed: 3 short pieces of masking tape and a sharpie.

Preparation: Write on one piece of tape “Mercy.” On the other 2 write “Meanness.” This is a great game to play outside with a yard-sized playing field.
However, if that isn’t possible clear the most space in your classroom as possible. Let kids use tables as decoys to run around.

Let’s think together of some examples of mercy when we could show meanness. Let’s say a new girl comes to your school who is so shy that she can hardly say anything. Meanness would say, “MAN, you’re quiet,” which would probably make her feel worse. But you could do”¦what instead?

Ask the girl questions to draw her out and be very happy when she speaks”¦do a lot of the talking yourself until she feels comfortable.

Let’s say that a kid in your neighborhood has parents that are a lot stricter than yours, and he’s not allowed off the street. Meanness would say, “Oh well, that’s your problem; I’m going to the playground,” but you could do”¦what instead?

Play with him in the confines that he is allowed.

Let’s say your little sister decides to give herself a haircut. She cuts her bangs all the way up to her hairline and it looks horrible! Meanness would laugh and poke fun, but you could say”¦what?

It’ll grow back”¦all the ways she’s still pretty.

Let’s say a boy on your street gets hit by his parents and older siblings when hitting is not necessary. And he comes to school angry and wants to hit. You could be mean back when he gets mean, or you could do”¦ what?

Try to understand that he is frustrated and be nice”¦it might make him nicer to know he has an understanding friend.

We all want mercy in our lives, and we want to be merciful people. Let’s always run toward “Mercy” in our lives and try to keep away from “Meanness.  I’ll show you how with this game:

Have one child stand at the far end of the room wearing a sign that says “Mercy.” Have two other children stand in the middle of the room wearing a sign that says

Line all remaining children up against the wall opposite of where “Mercy” is. When you say, “Go!” they should all run for Mercy. Meanness should try to tag them.
If she does, the child she tags is “caught” and has to sit down.

The ways out of being caught are (a) to reach Mercy, or (b) to cry “have mercy on me!” if Meanness starts to tag them.

Students can only say “have mercy on me” once! It is like a get out of jail free card, so they should only use it when they’re about to get tagged. Once he says it, that means he is “safe.” “Safe” means that Meanness must tag somebody else before going after that “safe” person again.

In the end, some will have reached Mercy and some will have been captured by Meanness.

Students can free themselves after being captured by reciting the whole Beatitude including the verse: Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the
Kingdom of Heaven. If the student can say it, he is free to go to Mercy.

Being captured by Meanness, that’s like if, in real life, you yourself have been mean. However, if that happens to you just apologize! And ask for Jesus’ help. The good thing about Jesus is that he forgives and helps you become Merciful.

Everyone who is “captured” by Meanness is now “set free” by Jesus to run to Mercy. “Go!” With Jesus, everybody who believes wins in the end!