(Warner Brothers, 2009)
Main Point of Discussion:
It’s one thing to know you need to change your life’s direction; it’s quite another to do something about it.
The Movie Clip:
The Blind Side
is an acclaimed, crowd-pleasing movie with numerous clips that can provoke discussion. The movie is pretty much “all things to all people”; it’s a sports movie, a family movie, a tearjerker, a drama, a comedy, and there’s even some action and suspense. Sandra Bullock won a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy, the posh-but-tough-as-nails wife and mother who reaches out to an abandoned teenager, Michael Oher.
The clip we’re using for this particular discussion features Leigh Anne and her family driving in the middle of the nighttime rain. Soon they see “Big Mike” (Quinton Aaron) walking alone. What happens in the few minutes that follow radically alters the course of their lives.
Introducing the Clip:
Today I want to show you a clip from the movie
The Blind Side. Many of you have already seen this movie, but for those who haven’t, it begins with Leigh Anne Tuohy and her family driving in their BMW SUV in the middle of the nighttime rain. Then they see “Big Mike” walking alone. While Leigh Anne and her family notice and talk to Michael, they soon drive away—but Leigh Anne thinks better of that decision. What happens in the few minutes that follow radically alters the course of their lives. Let’s take a look at this scene.
BEGIN CLIP AT 19 minutes and 59 seconds. (spotting MICHAEL from her BMW window, who’s walking alone in the cold nighttime rain)
What is he wearing? It’s freezing. What’s his name again?
SJ: (to LEIGH ANNE)
Where’s he going?
SEAN: (rolling down his window)
Hey, Big Mike! Where you headin’?
Go ahead. (SEAN lets MICHAEL cross in front of the Tuohys’ vehicle, and then they pull away; LEIGH ANNE is soon convicted.)
LEIGH ANNE: (to SEAN)
Turn around. (SEAN turns car around and heads back for MICHAEL. LEIGH ANNE calls to him.)
Big Mike! (to SEAN)
Stop the car. (LEIGH ANNE hollers for MICHAEL again.)
Big Mike! (LEIGH ANNE exits the car to talk to MICHAEL.)
Hey, my name’s Leigh Anne Tuohy. My kids go to Wingate. You said you’re going to the gym? The school gym’s closed. Why were you going to the gym?
(No answer from a shivering MICHAEL.)
LEIGH ANNE: (firmer)
Big Mike? Why were you going to the gym?
Do you have any place to stay tonight? (MICHAEL weakly nods a “yes”)
Don’t you dare lie to me. (MICHAEL gives in and shakes his head “no”)
SEAN: (to SJ, in the vehicle)
I’ve seen that look many times. She’s about to get her way.
LEIGH ANNE: (to MICHAEL)
Come on. Come on. SJ, make room. Get inside. Come on.
Where we goin’?
Home. (Later, as the Tuoys pull into the driveway of their considerable estate, MICHAEL stares out the car window in awe.)END CLIP AT 22 minutes and 13 seconds.
In this scene Leigh Anne’s conscience hit her big-time when she realized she had everything in the world to give to Michael, an abandoned teen who had next to nothing. But knowing she needed to take action was only half the battle—she literally had to turn around, to change the direction she was headed, and embrace a whole new way of life.
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: Before we begin, tell everyone your name and your favorite sport (and why). If you don’t have a favorite sport, that’s okay, too.
- ASK A FEW: In the scene we just watched, Leigh Anne clearly felt compassion for Michael—but at first drove away from him. Why do you think it’s so easy sometimes to move on with our own lives when we see so much need right in front of us?
- ASK A FEW: Share about a time when you saw a need but felt too busy or preoccupied to help. What were your reasons for moving on? Did your decision bother you later?
- ASK A FEW: When we don’t stop to help someone in need, what are some of the things we fear might happen if we would have helped?
Read the following verse:
ASK SOMEONE: According to the verse, what do God’s people have to do before God forgives them and restores their land? (Leader—the answer you are looking for: humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face, turn from their wicked ways)
ASK A FEW: Which of the things God’s people need to do is the hardest for you to do—or the hardest for God’s people, in general, to do? (Leader—the answer you might be looking for: turn from wicked ways, as it takes a certain amount of effort and soul searching to change the wrong direction in which you’re headed.)
ASK A FEW: This Bible verse talks about humbling ourselves, too. In what ways have you been challenged lately to humble yourself? How did you do?
ASK A FEW: Do you see any connection between humbling yourself and turning from a wrong direction you might be headed? (Leader—the answer you might be looking for: it takes some humility to admit when you’re wrong and then turn around and then begin walking on the right path.)
AROUND THE CIRCLE: In the movie clip, Leigh Anne literally says “turn around.” But it wasn’t an immediate decision. You can see that she’s closing her eyes and thinking before she utters those two words. What do you suppose she was considering before she decided to “turn around”?
ASK A FEW: The word repent literally means to “turn from” or “turn around”—and it’s a requirement for salvation as we make the decision to reject our sinful ways (Optional passage for further investigation: Acts 3:19). In what ways is Leigh Anne’s decision to “turn around” similar to spiritual repentance?
ASK A FEW: We know from the clip that Leigh Anne’s decision to “turn around” led to a good thing for Michael that night—a dry, warm place to sleep. But it also led to other radical changes in both of their lives. What excites you about radical changes in your life? What scares you about radical changes?
ASK A FEW: Take a minute in silence to think about what areas of your life need radical changes—and in what ways you need to “turn around” to get there.
AROUND THE CIRCLE: What are you going to do this week to not only help those in need but also to work on changing your direction?
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
Tonight we’ve been considering the statement “turn around.” For some of us, that’s a huge deal. Many of us have shared ways we struggle with humbling ourselves and changing our lives in radical ways. But God never meant for us to tackle these challenges on our own strength. God will never answer “no” when we ask him for the strength to humble ourselves, pray, seek his face, or turn from our sin—those are things that God is just waiting for us to pray about and want in our lives.
Let’s bow our heads and ask God for those very things—for humility before him and before others and for the strength to “turn from our wicked ways.” When we do, God will give us that strength and plenty of opportunities to grow. And as you sit with your eyes closed and your head bowed, I want you to think about what areas in your life need radical change and in what ways you need to “turn around” in order to make those changes. Because when you do, lives will be blessed—yours and many others. God says so.
Close in Prayer
Written by Dave Urbanski; original idea by Joel Durrwachter