Hey Small Group Leaders! Welcome to the first week of our new series called Haters. In it, we’ll be talking to your students about what life would look like if we stopped passing so much judgment—in other words, if we stopped hating so hard on other people. We’re praying for you as you lead your group this week!
Friday May 11, 2018 from 6-8pm is our VSM Leader Celebration Dinner! Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 30, 2018 so we can plan dinner accordingly. Spouses/Significant Others and children are welcome and should be included in your RSVP.
WEEK ONE SUMMARY: 4/8/18
No matter how hard we try, there’s something in each of us that tends to hate on the flaws and failures of other people. And that’s not necessarily a good thing because, at the end of the day, nobody likes a hater. This week, as we look at the way Jesus responded to a group of particularly harsh haters, we’ll see that all of us have the chance to drop the judgment and replace it with grace.
Drop the rock.
THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP
To encourage students to move away from judging others (and comparing sins) and toward offering grace to the people around them.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES & SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS
“All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more” (John 8:7b-11 NLT).
1.What do people you know like to hate on the most?
2.Why is it so easy (or even enjoyable) to hate on other people?
3.How does it feel when someone hates on you?
4.Knowing how bad it feels to be hated on, why do you think we’re so quick to hate on others?
5.What does the story of the woman caught in sin show us about Jesus?
6.How would our lives look different if we stopped judging other people?
7.Think about the one thing you’re most tempted to hate on in others. What’s one thing you can do to consistently drop the rock of judgment this week?
In a culture consumed with constant comparing, it should come as no surprise to us that we are constantly bombarded with the idea of who is better than whom. We probably wouldn’t admit this, but we tend to see how we measure up by comparing our “standing” with other people. For example, “I tithe every paycheck, so I’m a good Christian, unlike people who don’t.” Or, “I may occasionally tell a small lie, but at least I don’t cheat on my girlfriend like he does.” We may silently think these thoughts, but the truth is, this line of thinking is not in line with how Jesus operates. So what does Jesus have to say about this?
As He was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They kept demanding an answer, it says, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more” (John 8:3-11 NLT).
In this passage, not one person could throw the stone, because not one person was free of sin. And the same is true of you and I. It may be easy to judge someone else because his or her “sin” is not as bad as ours. But if we lived the way Jesus did, we would choose to drop the rock, and choose to live like Jesus. Will you make that choice today?
“We have to put mercy before judgment.” —Pope Francis