devotions for Christian teachers

How to Hold a Grudge

Readers’ Theatre-Chapel Presentation

Topic: Bitterness

ScriptureEph. 4:31, 32

 Level: Upper Primary/Intermediate


Need:  3 readers/scripts, 2 boxes with removable lids, white board/markers or iPad/projector

Hook:  Present the words “grudge” and “bitterness” in hangman format on white board or iPad

 Activity: discussion; story


  1. 1. What do these words mean?  (grudge: to keep bad feelings towards someone for a long time; bitterness: full of anger and hatred toward someone)
  2. 2. How are they dangerous?  (if you don’t do anything about then, they keep growing, like a root in the ground;  you may go on to act on those feelings)
  3. 3. Has anyone tried to get rid of a grudge?  How?
  4. 4. Read verses, then read the story

How to Hold a Grudge

(Reader 1 holds closed box; Reader 2 stand in the centre with closed box accessible behind him; Reader 3 stands with head down until part begins)

Reader 2:  “What’s in the box?”

Reader 1:  “I’ll show you, but you can’t hold it.”

Reader 2:  “Oh, c’mon—please?  I promise I won’t drop it.”

Reader 1:  “No.  I’ll open the lid.  You can only look for a minute, but then I have to close it because it might try to get out.”

Reader 2:  “OK—I’ll look fast.  Where is it?  I can’t see it?”

Reader 1:  “There—in the corner.”

Reader 2:  “Phew—it smells bad!  Is it that dark purple thing?”

Reader 1:  “Yes—watch out!  It’s trying to climb over the top!  I have to close the box now.”

Reader 2:  “Aww…I barely got to see it.  Can’t I hold it?”

Reader 1:  “No—I can’t let you.”

Reader 2:  “Why not?”

Reader 1:  “Because it’s mine.  I worked really hard for it, and I’m the only one who gets to hold it.  You have to get your own.”

Reader 2:  “Well--what is it and how’d you get it?” 

Reader 1:  “It’s a Grudge.  You have to wait until someone does or says something mean to you.  It can be something insignificant or minuscule, but you must carefully listen or you might miss it.  Sometimes all it takes is for someone to make a face at you.   Some Grudges can take a bit longer to grow, but the more you have, the quicker they mature.”  

Reader 2:  “What do you feed it?”

Reader 1:  “Mean thoughts.  I usually take it into my room and think as many nasty and unkind thoughts as I can about that person.  Sometimes I have an imaginary conversation with the person, telling them how much they have hurt my feelings, and how much I dislike them.  Then the grudge just grows.  And, because I can think bad thoughts anywhere,I can actually feed it when I’m away from it.”

Reader 2:  “Ha-ha—it’s kind of like a remote-control grudge!”

Reader 1:  “Yeah--kind of.”

Reader 2:  “What were those pokey things on it? They looked sharp.”

Reader 1:  “Yes, they are.  Those are spines.”

Reader 2:  “So, it’s kind of like a sea urchin?”

Reader 1:  “Kind of.”

Reader 2:  “It was slimy, too.  Hey—let’s take it out and scare someone!”

Reader 1:  “Welllll…it sounds like fun, but—no.”

Reader 2:  “Awww…why not?”

Reader 1:  “Because I worked really hard for this Grudge.  I don’t want to lose it, and I don’t want anyone to take it away from me.  If you had one, you’d understand how important it is to me, and why I want to take care of it and keep it for my own.”

 Reader 2:  “Well, see you later.  I’m going home to try to get one, too.”

…The next day…

(Reader 1stands with head down; Reader 2 retrieves box; Reader 3 enters conversation)

Reader 3:  “What’s in the box?”

Reader 2:  “I’ll show you, but you can’t hold it.”

Reader 3:  “Oh, c’mon—please?  I promise I won’t drop it.”

Reader 2:  “No.  I’ll open the lid.  You can only look for a minute, but then I have to close it because it might try to get out.”

Reader 3:  “OK—I’ll look fast.  Is it that little purple thing in the corner?  It’s kind of cute.  Ewww--it really stinks, though!  What is it and when did you get it?”

Reader 2:  “It’s a Grudge, and I just got it yesterday.  My friend told me how to grow them.  They’re really easy to get.  The cool thing is, once you have one, you can keep it for as long as you want.”

Reader 3:  “How big can they get?”

Reader 2:  “I don’t know—this is my first one.”

Reader 3:  “What if it gets too big for the box—where are you going to keep it?”

Reader 2:  “I haven’t thought about that.  My friend told me about his Grudge, and I wanted to have one like his.

Reader 3:  “Be careful—something is dripping from the bottom of the box.”

Reader 2:  “Oops—it is hard to clean up after.  If you play with it, you really have to wash your hands well, or anything you touch will stink and be really slimy.  Sanitizer won’t work.  Do you want to know how to get one?”

Reader 3:  “Hmmm…no thanks.  It sounds dangerous.  I think I’ll stick with my card collection.”

Questions to discuss as a group or after Chapel in individual classes:

1.  If you had to draw a grudge, what would it look like?

2.  If a grudge is like bitterness, how could you get rid of it?

3.  Re-read verses:  According to what God says, what should the people in our story do next? (do something kind; show love)

4.  What makes a person want to keep a grudge? (sin makes us feel good for awhile; we base our actions on our feelings, and not what God says to do)

5.  According to these verses, what should be the next step for the 2 people in our story?

6.  We don’t always feel like being kind, but we must act on God’s Word and not on our feelings.  What could the people in our story do to show kindness, even if they don’t want to?

7.  Remember, God based His actions toward us on His faithful love; that’s how we must respond to others.