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The Plank in Your Eye

To focus on looking at ourselves before finding fault in others.

by Gill O'Neill

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To focus on looking at ourselves before finding fault with others (based on Luke 6.41-42).

Preparation and materials

  • This assembly follows on from 'Critics', or can stand alone if you leave out section 1.
  • You will need a flip-chart, a felt marker and two blindfolds or scarves.
  • Note: As this assembly involves criticism (albeit pretend), and people getting things wrong, you might like to use teachers as the performers, rather than children. This could add an extra fun element and avoid children feeling 'on the spot'.

Assembly

  1. Remind the children of the 'Critics' assembly and tell them that this assembly is based on another similar parable that Jesus told at the same time.

  2. Ask for a volunteer to do some drawing. Warn them that whatever they draw you are likely to be very critical. You will be doing this to make a point - you'll be acting, it won't be what you really think! (Choose someone who is confident.) Ask them to draw a picture of a house on the flip-chart. You can perhaps ask for some specific details, such as a chimney, smoke, trees in the garden, cat in the tree, etc.

  3. Offer some criticism, then ask for another volunteer who thinks they can do better. On a fresh sheet ask this child to draw a house, using the same specifications. Pick out one or two aspects that are better in this picture, and agree with this child that their drawing is good. So good, that you would like them to teach the first child to draw. Ask them if they feel they can do this.

  4. Ask the first child to return to the flip-chart and place a blindfold on him/her. Now tell the second child to instruct child one in drawing a better picture of a house. Encourage instructions to be given in a loud voice. After the basic house has been attempted, stop them. Remove the blindfold and ask if child two was successful in teaching child one to draw better.

    Ask for a third volunteer. Who thinks they could do a better job of instructing child one?

  5. Blindfold child one again and just as the new 'instructor' is about to start, say that they too are to be blindfolded. Emphasize to child one that she/he should follow the instructions exactly. Enjoy the result! Ask all the children to sit down and thank them for being such good sports.

  6. Now say that this is a little like the story Jesus told (in Luke 6.41-42). He was telling his friends how they should behave towards one another and told this parable to illustrate the point. He said that before taking a splinter out of someone else's eye we should remove the plank that is in our own. What Jesus really meant was that we shouldn't criticize small things in other people when there is probably a lot wrong with ourselves.

  7. Illustrate the literal meaning of this parable by asking a child at the front to stand up and imagine they have something in their eye. Ask the assembled children if you would be able to see anything if you had a plank in your eye. Point out that it would be impossible to remove anything from someone's eye if you were unable to see.

Time for reflection

Dear Lord,
All too often we look for, or find the faults in others.
Help us to recognize that we all have things about ourselves that could be improved.
Help us to take our own planks from our eyes,
and leave others to sort out their own.
Amen.

Song/music

'Somebody greater' (Come and Praise, 5)

Publication date: April 2002   (Vol.4 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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