Find a good size mirror that you can hold in your hand. Color it completely with a black, magic marker. Have another mirror just like it without any marks on it. Talk to them about how God created all the animals but when He made people, He made us very special. Gen 1:27 says, “God created humankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them,
male and female He created them.” Bring out the clean mirror and talk about how when God looked into the heart of Adam and Eve, He could see Himself. This ability to shine forth God’s image was very special. Unlike this mirror that reflects whatever is in front of it. A heart made in God’s image always reflected to whoever looked into it the goodness of God.
The Bible says that God gave Adam and Eve a very special gift. He gave them the gift of choice. You see God had a special tree in the garden called the tree of good and evil. “Then the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.’” With that command God let man choose if he wanted to trust Him and obey.
Ask the children, “Did Adam and Eve trust God and obey or did they listen to the Serpent and trust him? They Bible says, “Now the serpent was shrewder than any of the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Is it really true that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard; but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’ The serpent said to the woman, ‘Surely you will not die, for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food, was attractive to the eye, and was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them opened…” Genesis 3:1-7a
At this point put the mirror face down on the table and say, their eyes were open to what they had done. For the first time they felt guilt. Guilt is that feeling you get when you know you have done something that you shouldn’t have done, when you know that you have disobeyed. Their physical bodies didn’t die but their spirts did. That part of them that reflected God so beautifully died that day. They no longer could shine forth the image of God clearly.
Pick up the darkened mirror and show it to the children. Not only were their hearts darkened but every person born after them was born with a darkened heart. People are all made in God’s image but our ability to reflect Him to others is gone.
The good relationship that they had with God was gone. They had believed God’s enemy and became like him and so their children too were born with hearts that were at war with God. Every child born after them is born with a heart that is darkened with sin and at war with God.
But there is good news. John 3:16 says “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” And in Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The Bible asks us to trust God and obey Him by believing in Jesus. We can trust His love. Romans says, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by His life?” Reconciled means that God forgives us our sins and cleanses us from all our unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Lay the darkened mirror down and bring out the clean mirror. When Jesus comes to live inside of us, He cleans up our darkened heart taking away our sins and once again we can shine the love of Jesus to others.
End by holding up both mirrors and asking the children, “What does your heart look like?” Tell them, “If you have never asked Jesus to come into your heart and clean it from all sin then your heart still looks like this. If you trust God and obey Him by believing in Jesus, you can ask Him to come into your heart today. If you would like to do that just come talk to me and I will show you how.”
Suzi Ciliberti works for Christar, a Missions Agency that plants churches among least-reached Asians worldwide. She served in Japan for two years as a single missionary and another nine with her husband and two children, then the family returned to the states. She and her husband have been serving in the US Mobilization Center since 2000. As a part of the Member Care Department, Suzi is consultant to families with children. She has been working as a children’s teacher since she was 17 and began her training under Child Evangelism Fellowship. She has taught in the church, as a school teacher for two years in a Christian elementary school, and as a speaker for adults training to work with children. She has also trained children, who are a part of families that work overseas, in their identity in Christ. She brings 44 years of teaching experience to her work. She loves creative writing as well as teaching and has found great fulfillment in combining the two as she blogs for Heartprints. She finds it a great privilege and joy to serve the Lord and His people. One of her favorite verses is Deuteronomy 4:10b, "Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children."