Topic: Don’t Rush to Judgment
We shouldn’t judge others by our first impressions. Instead, follow Jesus’ example and act in love.
Navy SEAL Shane Wolfe (Vin Diesel) is assigned to protect five kids of an agent killed after Wolfe rescued him.
About 25 seconds into Scene 9, Seth The Performer,
(after the driver’s ed. scene with the oldest sister), the principal and vice principal show Lt. Wolfe a Nazi armband found in the oldest boy, Seth’s, locker and express concern because he’s died his hair blond. Lt Wolfe follows Seth to an alley where he sees him meet two boys who have Nazi armbands on. Once inside, we see that this is a rehearsal for the musical, “The Sound of Music.”
Have two creative, drama students do a short skit about rushing to judgment. One idea is to have one enter with a beer bottle in one hand facing the crowd, and a half-filled garbage bag in the other, not visible to the other person, who immediately launches into a dramatic lecture on the evils of drinking. The first person just looks at them like they have three heads. After a minute or so, have someone off stage (could be you) yell, “Hey, community trash volunteers, we’re gonna break for lunch. Praise the Lord for you guys; we’re getting a lot done today!”
Has that ever happened to you? Anyone want to share? (Have your own story about someone assuming the wrong thing or rushing to judgment about you ready to share if no one else does.)
Well, tonight we’re going to talk about this. Before we do, let’s watch a clip that illustrates this very thing.
SHOW CLIP HERE
– Introduce the clip from the "Introduction" description.
Vice Principal Murney: But it’s not about her. It’s about the boy.
STOP any time during Seth’s song.
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS:
Lt. Wolfe: Has he been skipping class again?
Principal: Skipping class? He always skips sixth period, but this is…
Murney: All right. Seth! (Seth enters.) OK, take off the hat.
Lt. Wolfe: Go ahead. (Seth pulls off his hat to reveal dyed blonde hair.)
Murney: Look at that. That’s how he showed up for practice. And that’ not all. I was doing a little recon in his locker and I found this. (He tosses a Nazi armband to Lt. Wolfe.) Okay? Now if it was a girlie magazine or a hamster, fine. Boys will be boys. But this is sick.
Lt. Wolfe: All right. He dyed his hair. He’s not a Nazi.
Principal: This is not normal. We’re very concerned.
(Bell rings and she sends the kids back to class. She asks Lt. Wolfe privately to try to “get through to them.” Back at the house, he and Seth have words and Seth runs up to his room. The very next scene we see Lt. Wolfe discover Seth’s protective bracelet broken on the bed and Seth having crawled out the window and catching a bus. Lt. Wolfe follows him on a bike until he comes to the alley where Seth meets the other boys. Lt. Wolfe follows him into the auditorium to discover the rehearsal.)
(For quick basics of small group leading, check out Jonathan’s article:
- ASK SOMEONE: What did the principal and Vice Principal Murney accuse Seth of? Why?
- ASK A FEW: Has anyone ever accused you of something that you didn’t do? How did it make you feel?
- ASK A FEW: Remember when we shared stories at the beginning about people who assumed things about us or rushed to judgment? Think for a minute: do you ever remember making a wrong judgment about someone else? Share what you did.
ASK A FEW: The passage is clear that we shouldn’t judge others, because we aren’t perfect ourselves. Think about that for a second. It’s a fact that nobody’s perfect- so think about something that you have done recently that you wouldn’t really want the world knowing about. Would you rather be judged for that, or forgiven for that?
Read the following passage from Romans 2:1-3 (NIV)
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?
ASK ONE OR TWO: Was Zacchaeus a popular guy? Why not?
ASK ONE OR TWO: Did Jesus judge Zacchaeus? What did Jesus do to Zacchaeus?
ASK ONE OR TWO: How did Zacchaeus respond to love instead of judgement?
ASK A FEW: What would you rather experience, love or judgement?
ASK A FEW: What should we give to others, love or judgement?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: Let’s close by each naming something that we have been judgmental of (others who party, people who dress a certain way . . .) Then say what you can say to that person or do instead of judging them.
Large Group Wrap-Up:
Now read this passage from Luke 19:1-10 (NIV)
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.  A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.  He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.  When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today."  So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.  All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a 'sinner.' "  But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."  Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
There are some of you here tonight who have put some thought to the way we treat others, or the way we respond to the actions of others. Sometimes our instinct is to be judgmental instead of loving. But Christ set an example all through the Bible of loving others, not judging. How many of you know John 3:16? (the most popular verse in the Bible) How many of you know the verse after John 3:16? You see, in John 3:17, it says that Jesus didn’t come into this world to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved through him.
Some of us as we sit here tonight would like that kind of forgiveness. The world is full of condemnation . . . but Jesus is full of love and forgiveness.
Everyone close your eyes. As you sit here tonight- I want you to think about that fact that regardless of what you have done, there is a God above who loves you so much that He is willing to forgive you for your past. God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to forgive our past, and prepare us for an incredible future. If you’d like to experience that forgiveness tonight- you can. Just pray this prayer. “Jesus, I thank you for your love and forgiveness. Please forgive me for my past. I don’t want to live that way anymore. I want to live for you instead. I give you my life . . . I give you my future.”
Before I say “Amen,” As you sit there with your eyes closed and head bowed, if you prayed that prayer, I’d like to pray for you. Just slip up your hand so I can see it and I’ll pray for you.
If you raised your hand tonight- we’d love to talk with you. Please come up to our staff tonight and just say these words, “I raised my hand.” We’d love to pray with you and give you a Bible.