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by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To consider the meaning of opposition and how the situation can be turned around.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and four readers, plus another reader for the Bible verses.


  1. Leader Ask the children for a definition of the word ‘opposition’ and take their suggestions.

    Consider some synonyms – hostility, antagonism, enmity, objection, dissent, criticism, non-compliance. Choose words that are all negative.

    Put these in order of degree of severity and give examples in a sentence, such as, ‘There was considerable opposition to the proposal to make the school day longer  . . .   from both staff and pupils!’ This would probably take the form initially of objections and criticisms, but might become dissent, non-compliance and hostility if the proposal was introduced.

  2. Leader How about opposition when it comes from a person, if they were opposed to an idea or proposal? For example, if this happened in a group project situation, then some work would be involved in winning the person over to accepting your idea. 

    What has the opponent said or done? 
    Why is it untrue or unjust? 
    What is true?

    Reflect on how the truth affects you and the opposition facing you. 

    This is more difficult when others are opposed to you simply as a person, for reasons you don’t always understand.

    Turning a negative into a positive, however, is a very powerful thing to do. As the saying goes, ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’.

  3. Leader How, then, does opposition affect us? We can either sink or swim. So what is the right reaction to opposition?

    We can accept it or get out if necessary and/or keep a positive attitude towards those opposing us. Let’s look at an example from the Bible.

    The story of David

    Reader 1 David was the youngest of eight brothers, the least important in his family, a shepherd boy. 

    Reader 2 The King of Israel at that time was Saul and he was a very difficult man, very moody. One day, someone suggested that a young shepherd lad called David might be enlisted to help. The young boy was apparently a beautiful singer and harpist. So, whenever Saul was in a mood, David would take his harp and play. Then Saul would feel better.

    Reader 3 The Philistines were at war with King Saul’s army. They had a great advantage in the form of Goliath – a great brute of a man, reputedly nearly 3 metres (that is, over 9 feet) tall, covered in heavy bronze armour that gleamed in the sun and terrified the Israelites before he even opened his mouth!

    Bible reader Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, Come on you lot. Choose a man and have him come and fight me. This day I defy the armies of Israel (1 Samuel 17.8–11, paraphrased NIV).

    Reader 4 King Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. Now, David was on an errand to take food to his brothers. He heard Goliath’s mocking voice shouting defiance at David’s God.

    David said to Saul, ‘Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; I will go and fight him.’ 

    Reader 1 His brothers were furious. ‘Why have you come here? What about the sheep you are supposed to be looking after? You are a conceited so and so! You only wanted to come and gloat over the battle!’

    Reader 2 ‘Now what have I done?’ said David. ‘Can’t I even speak?’ 

    Reader 3 David ran down to the stream, picked up some stones and hurled one at Goliath from his catapult. It hit Goliath on the head and he passed out. David ran up to him and, using Goliath’s enormous sword, he cut off his head!

Time for reflection

Opposition is hard to deal with. Imagine how David felt, going out to fight a giant, knowing that his brothers didn’t believe in him?

David still won, even against that opposition.

Sometimes, we might feel as though we have giants to fight, when people oppose us and accuse us of being unpleasant, conceited or naughty, when we know that we aren’t.

Sometimes we just have to hang on to the truth, and wait for that to become clear to everyone else.


‘To ev’rything turn, turn, turn’ (Come and Praise, 113)

Publication date: May 2014   (Vol.16 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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