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Judging Others

TITLE
Judging Others

SESSION PURPOSE
To discuss stereotypes and stress the importance of seeing the “inner person”

OPENING PRAYER
The Lord’s Prayer

ICEBREAKER
To Tell the Truth – Each person says one thing that is true about themselves and one thing that is false. The group attempts to guess which one is true. Then the individual chats about the true fact.

ACTIVITY
Split the group into two smaller groups. Before the event, prepare Post-It notes with a stereotype or characteristic (ex. Jock, Cheerleader, Nerd, Druggie, Shy, Band Member, Most Popular, Overweight etc.). Place a stereotype on one of the groups. The group with the notes should not know what stereotype they have. The other group, without the notes, has to do a little acting. They must circulate and interact like most people or society treats those stereotyped people. Complete the activity, but do not let the stereotyped group know what characteristic they had. Ask the entire group following:

1) For those who had a stereotype, please guess what yours was.
2) How did it feel to be treated this way?
3) For those who were stereotyping, how did it feel as you stereotyped your peers? How did they react?
4) How would you feel if you thought people treated you according to your outward appearance without getting to know the “real” you?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- Why is it dangerous to stereotype people or judge them according to their outward appearances?
- What do you think God would say about judging others?

For the following passages, select an older participant to read the passage. Then ask the group to share their thoughts and reflect on each one.

Matthew 7:1-5
“Judge not, that you not be judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye” when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

John 8:3-11
“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?’ This they said to test him so they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”

Genesis 1:27
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him…”

REFLECT: The Bible teaches us to examine ourselves first and not cast judgment on others. It is important to see that Jesus does not let the woman go easily. He does not condemn her, but he also chargers her to sin no more. Finally, we should not judge because God created all of us in his image and likeness.

CHALLENGE
1) Pray for someone who has judged you incorrectly.
2) Pray for someone you incorrectly judged.
3) Make a conscious effort to catch and stop yourself when you are about to judge someone. Ask God to help you.

CLOSING PRAYER
Lord and Master of my life, cast away from me the spirit of laziness, idle curiosity, love of power and vain talk. But grant me, Your servant, the spirit of moderation, humility, patience and love. Yes, Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brothers and sisters. For you are blessed forever. Amen.
Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian

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