The defiantly dancing, bow-wearing child star takes a stand in this song, declaring that her enemies won’t bring her down. But what does Jesus say we should do about our enemies? Retaliate, ignore them or something else altogether? This session explores why it isn’t enough to simply keep on walking.
Before the session, pin pictures around the room of well-known arch-enemies, such as Tom and Jerry, Batman and the Joker, and Manchester United and Manchester City. As they arrive, challenge the children to match the pictures with their rivals. Once they have correctly identified each of the pairings, talk about what makes them enemies. Some will be comical, while others may be of a more sinister nature.
Explain that we’re going to be thinking about what it means to have enemies and how we treat them. We all have experiences of coming up against other people: from those we just find it hard to get on with, to those who seem to be out to get us. Ask the children to think about the situations they are facing and how God can help them.
Play the track. Provide copies of the lyrics then ask:
- How does the singer react to her enemies?
- Is this a healthy way to handle them?
- Could she deal with things differently?
Invite the group to share some of their own experiences or to ask questions, without judgement. Reassure them that this is a safe place where you can help each other grow.
Provide Bibles and ask someone to read Luke 6:27-36. Talk about the challenge Jesus gives in his instructions. Explain that this isn’t an easy thing to do. It’s a challenge for all of us, no matter how old we are or how many difficult situations we have to deal with. Discuss these questions:
- What challenges you most about this?
- How can you apply this to the situations you face?
Keep the discussion rooted in real-life situations, while reminding the group of ground rules around confidentiality and respect. Help everyone find practical steps through the difficult circumstances they may be facing, ensuring they know where to go for further help if needed. Reiterate that following Jesus isn’t easy. There is a challenge to live differently, but God wants the best for us, and there are ways we can help each other through this.
As you draw the session to a close, pray with the children, perhaps reading the words of Ephesians 6:10-18 over them. Remind them that God is with them in every situation they face.