YOUTH GROUP GAME ON JUDGING OTHERS
Bible: Romans 2:1-3
Bottom Line: You will be judged by how you judge others.
- A soft ball (kickball, dodgeball, foam ball, etc.)
Have students form a circle by standing shoulder width apart and facing outwards.
Next, instruct them to stand with their legs apart so that their left foot is touching the right foot of their neighbor, and the only gaps are through their legs.
Now, have everyone bend down, with their hands clasped together swinging like a pendulum.
Have a leader on hand that can keep time on the stopwatch.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
Say: It looks like we are ready to play the game, but you probably still can’t guess what we’re doing – we look kind of funny!
Choose one person who will stand in the middle of the circle.
I am going to ask _______ to stand in the middle of the circle.
And I’m going to put this ball in the middle of our circle.
The object of the game is to hit the ball with your hands (and remember that you have to remain bent over with your hands clasped together) and try to hit the person in the middle with the ball.
You will get one minute to hit the person with the ball.
If you are unsuccessful, the person in the middle will join back into the circle and I will choose someone to take their place.
If the person in the middle is hit by the ball, they are out of the game and will have to sit down.
The person that hit them with the ball will take their place in the middle of the circle.
During each minute of game play, the ball should always be moving and the person in the middle can move all around inside of the circle to avoid being hit by the ball.
The game is over when there are only three people remaining – because you can’t make a circle out of two people.
Or when you decide that you’ve played enough rounds of the game.
Congratulate the winners for a job well done.
Say: Our game was kind of like a real-live version of a pinball machine.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever played on a pinball machine before.
Once the marble starts moving, you have to keep hitting it to keep it going, or the game is over.
The modern-day pinball machine was invented by a man named, David Gottlieb back in the 1930’s.
Before Gottlieb’s creation, there were several mechanisms that had to be invented that make the pinball machine possible.
Even after Gottlieb invented the game, soon after, coin-operated games were invented, and games that used electrical outlets became popular.
When you look at a pinball machine it might be easy to just assume that the entire machine was created at once, but it is actually made up of a series of inventions that give us the game we see today.
The pinball machine reminds me a lot of each of you.
When I look at you, I just see who you are right now.
I know some of you better than others, but it would be impossible for me to know everything that has led up to this point in your life.
So, it would also be wrong for me to make any judgements about you.
And that’s what we’re talking about today – judging others.
Immediately, some of you may have thought, “you can’t judge me!”
It’s almost our instant reaction because no one, and I mean no one, likes to be judged.
Ask: What does it mean to “judge” someone?
Allow a few responses from students.
Have you ever been judged unfairly by someone else?
As students share their experiences, encourage them to keep their answers as short as possible – some students might express some frustration in their responses.
Some of you shared some pretty hurtful experiences.
What if I asked: Have you ever unfairly judged someone else?
All of us would have to raise our hands because we’ve all done it.
A “first impression” is the seven-second window of time when we meet someone.
We make judgements about people all the time!
Ask: Have you ever gotten the wrong first impression of someone? Tell me about it.
Allow a few responses. Share a story about a time when you got a first impression totally wrong.
Scientists say that we actually make judgements about someone’s character in .01 seconds.
Wow! Can you imagine someone judging your character that quickly?
It almost seems unfair – that’s because it is.
Let’s see what the Bible has to say about judging other people.
Read Romans 2:1-3.
You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.
And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things.
Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things?
The Book of Romans is a letter written by Paul to the Christians in Rome.
Leading up to the verses we just read, Paul is explaining that ALL of us have sinned against God.
Sometimes it’s easy for us to look at other people and see everything they have done wrong, but it’s important for us to remember that we are not perfect either.
And that is what Paul is telling these Christians – “You’re looking at people and wanting them to be punished for what they have done, when you’ve done the same things!”
Ask: Why do you think we want justice when other people do wrong?
Allow a few responses from students.
Some of our strong feelings may be influenced by our culture’s desire for things to be just, but there’s another part of our desire to judge that is just our human nature.
We want things to be fair.
Someone does something wrong, they should be punished.
The problem is that we don’t feel the same way when we are on the receiving end of the punishment – we want mercy!
These verses in Romans serve as a reminder that God is the ultimate judge.
Because He is the only being who has never sinned, He is the only one who can judge humanity.
We will be judged in the same way we judge others.
If we desire God to show us mercy in His judgement towards us, shouldn’t we want the same for others?
That way of thinking changes our point of view.
Instead of judging others, what if we showed them the benefit of the doubt, by remembering that we aren’t perfect either?
Choose to show mercy when it comes to how you judge others.
Ask God to examine your heart and show you the people you have judged too harshly.
And then, choose mercy instead of judgement.