One of the best ways to avoid self-pity is to serve others. That requires humility…which God is always ready to openly reward.
The Discussion Starter:
What happens when a new kid is bullied? In many cases, he or she fights back, becomes bitter, lashes out, withers inward, or a combination of these.
But not Josh Yandt.
Following the death of his father, he and his mother relocated to an inner city school, and early on, Josh paid a steep price for being an outsider. He was bullied and teased and ostracized by his peers. One day, Josh had enough of doors being slammed in his face…so he chose to open doors for others.
Through his simple, but daily, act of service and compassion, he made a profound impact on the lives of others. But, that wasn’t the end of the kindness. There would be even more
good to come from his acts of selflessness.
The Video Clip:
The clip is available at the following link: http://www.wimp.com/simplething/
and also on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=43&v=PIHtuKc3Gjg
I really like this story because it shows just how important it is to respond to hatred with kindness. But it also shows how much humility is required to handle bullying…and how God openly rewards those who display it. Josh’s example is a testament to all of us, because all of us have experienced mistreatment of some kind, even if it didn’t happen to us. I think there are a number of powerful lessons we can learn from Josh’s example. Let’s spend a few minutes in God’s Word to see how we can capitalize on that together.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and the name of someone at your school that reminds you of Josh.
- ASK A FEW: What do you think it was like to be Josh BEFORE he started opening doors for others? How about AFTER?
- ASK A FEW: How would most kids in your school respond to the situation that Josh faced?
- ASK A FEW: How different would this story be if Josh would have responded to his plight with bitterness or self pity or vengeance?
- ASK A FEW: Opening doors. A big deal…or a small deal? I only ask because it seemed to have a REALLY BIG impact on others.
- ASK A FEW: What did others get out of Josh’s kindness? What did Josh get out of his kindness?
- ASK A FEW: Name some of the people (or groups of people) that Josh’s act impacted. Why did it so deeply impact others?
- ASK A FEW: What do you think God’s response to these types of kind, humble acts are? Why?
Read the following passage:
ASK A FEW: According to verses 1, 2, and 3, how would James explain the problem of modern day bullying?
ASK A FEW: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble,” says James. In what ways was that fleshed out in Josh’s story?
ASK A FEW: What does James say God will do IF we humble ourselves before Him? What does that mean?
ASK A FEW: What were some of the ways that God “lifted up” Josh?
ASK A FEW: Our world tends to believe that to make a difference, you have to be rich, powerful, talented, etc. How would James and Josh respond to that belief? How do you know?
ASK A FEW: How would your school change if Josh Yandt attended it?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: What can YOU do to make an impact in the lives of others this week?
What a great example Josh put before us with his simple task of opening doors. Who would have thought that opening a door would open up so many lives?!?! But you heard from him, his friends, his teachers, the school faculty, and even the students that he spoke in front of at other schools. All of them said the same thing: he changed my life through his humble service and care of others.
James 4:1-10 (NIV)
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
That’s the opportunity God gives us through His power. We heard James say during our small group discussion that if we will humble ourselves and respond to problems with meekness, kindness, and love, God would make up the difference and do what no one else can do.
Jesus did that, by the way. He was wounded, lied against, misrepresented, and even tortured and killed…and He faced all of that with enough humility that He laid down His life for us.
You and I don’t have any excuses when it comes to making this kind of difference. When the world gangs up on us, we have the option of trying to lift ourselves up. The better plan is to model the humility that James spoke of that Josh showed his school. After godly humility, and only after godly humility, do we see this kind of power at work.
I want you to think about the people in your life that need a Josh…because I believe God may be calling you to be that Josh. Think about it: you know someone who’s hurting, don’t you? What can you do about it? You don’t have to necessarily solve world hunger tomorrow; just grab a door handle, so to speak. Your solution can be just as simple as Josh’s.
It can also be just as powerful. You’ll never know until you act humbly.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith