When was the last time you had to make a tough call? Was it when deciding what to eat for lunch? To drink Coke or Pepsi? Go to the gym or skip it? The truth is, we make judgment calls all day long, from what we watch on TV or who we hang out with to more complicated decisions like whether to attend a party or stick with a tough friendship. And, in every decision, we’re forced to ask the question, “Which option is better?” The problem is, our natural tendency to judge leaks into places it shouldn’t—like our relationships. We start thinking of people as options and deciding which ones are better or worse. Many of us are even tempted to make those judgments about ourselves. Unfortunately, most of the time, we make decisions about people without all the facts. We don’t know someone’s whole story, their whole situation, or their whole potential. We miss the big picture. Maybe that’s why, in the Bible, God makes it super clear: Judgment is His call. Not ours.
Session One: Busted
Bottom Line: Drop the rock.
What makes a good person or a bad person? That’s easy, right? We all have an opinion about how the best kind of people behave. And if we’re honest, we usually conclude thatweare the best kind of person. That the way we live, think, and act is the best way to be. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to judge people who are different from us. We assume that, even when we sin, their sin is probably worse than ours. That was exactly what happened when some religious leaders brought a woman to Jesus. She had been caught in the middle of something scandalous. And while the religious leaders had problems of their own, they were pretty convinced that they weren’t as bad as her. Everyone watching thought they knew what Jesus would do, how He would react. But as He often did, Jesus surprised them all. And through His response, we find that we, like the religious leaders, have only one option when it comes to judging others. We must drop the rock.
Session Two: Bad Girl?
Bottom Line: With other people, assume the best and trust God with the rest.
Who would you nominate for most likely to succeed? What about most likely to not succeed? Most likely to screw up? Most likely to disappoint everyone? The truth is, it’s easy to look at people around us and make judgments about who they will eventually become. We see their current actions and we feel like we can predict their future. But that isn’t always true. No matter how well we know someone, we can’t see what will happen when God enters their story. As we look at the lives of Israel’s spies and one very unlikely helper, we find that God’s plan is something we can’t ever predict. And we have to trust that, no matter how it seems, He is at work in others’ story as much as He is at work in our own.
Session Three: Not Against
Bottom Line: Even when you fail, He is for you.
There’s nothing worse than feeling like a failure. Whether it’s a bad quarter in the football game, a failing grade, or a total face-plant in the middle of your dance recital, failure is not fun. And for a lot of us, that feeling isn’t limited to school or sports. Sometimes, we even feel like a failure in our relationship with God. We make mistakes. We sin. And it’s easy to judgeourselves harshly and become discouraged. The Apostle Paul was no stranger to that feeling. Prior to writing most of the New Testament, Paul wasn’t such a good guy. He was an epic failure. And through his words, we discover the encouraging truth that even when we fail, God is for us.