Sorry for the short hiatus… The Scotty Love Show is back with part five. This week, Scotty teaches you the proper way for judging your neighbor.
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Key Scripture: Luke 18:9-14, Matthew 7:1-5
When you watch a movie trailer, how do you decide whether a movie looks good or looks like a pass?
When a new restaurant opens up in town, how do you decide whether or not you will check it out?
When was the last time you saw/heard a new music artist that you really, REALLY didn’t like? What was it that made you decide you disliked them?
Every day we make judgments. We judge movies based on their posters and trailers. We judge restaurants by their appearance and commercials. We judge musicians based on their looks as much as their musical ability (or lack thereof). We all have certain tastes – things we like and dislike – and we use those standards to judge everything from pop culture to new technologies to people.
Some people make a good living by making judgments about other people. Hiring managers and temp agencies are trained to identify qualified, motivated workers who fit an organization’s goals and culture. These people have to be picky; their jobs and their companies’ futures depend on it. But the same is not true for the church.
As Christians we are to love the world as Christ did, welcoming sinners and lepers and everything in between without question. But how good are we really when it comes to welcoming one and all to God’s house on Sunday?
READ AND DISCUSS
Read Luke 18:9-14
How would the people listening to Jesus tell this parable have viewed the two men in this story?
If Jesus were telling the story today, who might he have used as examples of the Pharisee and the sinful man?
How did Jesus’s appraisal of these two men differ from the way his listeners judged them?
Going back to our movie question – have you ever found a movie to be less than you expected based on its trailer? What movie was it, and why were you so disappointed?
What flaw does this parable expose about judging people based on their appearance?
Read Matthew 7:1-5
Why does Jesus advise us not to pass judgment on others?
How does Jesus say he will judge us?
What standards do you see people using to judge new comers in our own church?
Do you think the people in our church “screen” visitors before really reaching out to them?
Judging others isn’t restricted to visitors. How do you hear people judging (or should we say gossiping) about their brothers and sisters in Christ?
What kind of damage can such judgments do to our church family?
How can judging others, visitor or member, cause damage to the people we judge?
How do you think God wants visitors and those outside our church to view us as a church body?
How do you think people outside the church actually view us?
Changing the way our church judges others begins with us as individuals. What can we do as individuals to stem the tide of judging others?
Can we come up with a gentle way to steer other people away from gossip and judgment when we hear it?
Becoming a more loving, less judging church has to begin here with us. If we don’t change, we can’t expect others to change. The people outside this church are no more sinful than those of us inside the church. We need to remember that Jesus died for them the same as he did for us, and we need to remember we are no better than they in the eyes of God.
Let’s pray that God will make us a more welcoming people, beginning with our group and our families, and pray that as a church, we will be a body that welcomes everyone in Jesus’s name.
Forgive us for the way we have judged others. We know that we are all sinners, and none of us are better than anyone else who walks through our church doors. Give us open hearts to welcome everyone you send our way.
In Jesus’s name,