The weight of sin

Physical activity

Take a walk carrying a heavy backpack.

Discussion point: Sin and guilt can weigh us down, but God forgives us when we confess our sins.

This activity introduces the idea that “carrying unconfessed sin around” is exhausting. You will need heavy backpacks, snacks and an enticing place to go for a walk.

Summer option: Go for a long walk in the heat of the day. Give each child a backpack to carry that has a reasonable weight in it for their age and stamina (snacks and water work well). Walk for as long as you can without taking a break. It shouldn’t be too long before your kids are asking for a rest. Find a place to sit down in the shade and read Psalm 32:4-5. Use the discussion questions to talk about how concealing sin is as tiring as walking in the summer sun.

Winter option: Fill a backpack with heavy items for each person to carry on a trip to the mall. Go shopping, visiting store after store until your kids are really tired. Plan to eventually sit down for a refreshing drink and/or a snack. (These items can be pre-packed and brought from home to add weight to the backpacks.) Read Psalm 32:3-5 and discuss how holding on to sin instead of confessing it saps a person’s energy, just as walking around the mall carrying heavy packs does.

Questions for discussion
  • What happens to your strength when you are out in the hot summer sun?
  • Why did we get tired of walking today?
  • How do you feel if you have done something wrong and no one knows?
  • How would you describe the way you feel when you are guilty?
  • What happened to David when he sinned against God?
  • What did David do then?
  • Read Proverbs 28:13. What does God offer us when we confess our sins?
Key concepts

If we sin but keep it a secret, we begin to feel just awful. We feel even worse than when we had to carry the weighty backpack for such a long time. Guilt is the heavy feeling we have when we hide our sins from God. Just knowing that we have done something wrong weighs heavy on our minds. In Psalm 32, David described his feelings of guilt. He said he felt as though his bones were wasting away and that God’s hand was heavy on him – sapping his strength as in the heat of summer (Psalm 32:3-4). At the end of Psalm 32, David spoke of the wonderful feeling of being forgiven (Psalm 32:11). We can experience God’s forgiveness and mercy too. When we confess our sins, God forgives us. He lifts the heavy load of guilt off of us and we feel light-hearted and full of joy.

Relevant Scripture

Psalm 32:3-4 “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”

Psalm 32:11 “Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”

Proverbs 28:13 “Whoever conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”