Lesson Overview: Our students are growing up in the midst of a culture that is quick to “cancel” others. Constantly, people try to eliminate, block out, and boycott people/organizations who have done wrong to the culture’s values. What does Scripture have to say about this? This lesson dives into what Scripture has to say about judging others and gives practical tools for your students to apply to their lives.

Bible: James 2:13; John 8:1-11; Romans 14:12-13

Bottom Line: Jesus canceled judgment.

Capture: Grab their attention with an illustration.

  • Story: Have you ever been judged before? It’s not a fun feeling! Have you ever been on the receiving end of some pretty judgmental comments or glances? Let’s be honest — we’ve all done it too. Maybe you’re familiar with the phrase: “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” Share a story of a time you radically misjudged someone or something — the more dramatic the better!
  • We’d all love to not be judgmental of others, but sometimes it’s difficult! We can default to judgment if we aren’t intentionally seeing someone how God sees them.

Connect: Connect them to God’s word.

  • Tension Question: How can we overcome judgment in our lives towards others? It’s something we all struggle with, but I believe that Jesus has a great reminder for us to help us avoid judging others.
  • Scripture: James 2:13 — God delights in mercy over judgment! The measure we judge others will be placed on us.

Consider: What does this mean for us today?

  •  Scripture: John 8:1-11 — This woman was caught in adultery, and deserved to be “canceled.”
  • Jesus had every right to hand down judgment on her situation because of her sin, but instead of condemnation, he responded with mercy.
  • He challenged the Pharisees with the same measure of judgment mentioned in James — “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”
  • We see an important lesson in how we view ourselves and how we interact with others — Jesus calls us to live a life of mercy, not in judgment of others.
  • Bottom Line: Jesus canceled judgment.

Collide: How do we apply this in our lives?

  • Scripture: Romans 14:12-13 — Scripture is clear: stop condemning each other!
  • The good news for all of us is that God has a lot of time to complete His will in our lives and those around us. We are all growing and learning how to be better.
  • Who you are today will look radically different from who you are in ten years. Who are we to condemn someone on their growing journey to know and follow Jesus?
  • Our job as believers is not to condemn, but to encourage each other and spur each other on to good works. Replace condemnation with a self-focus that lives in an upright way so that others do not stumble and fall.
  • When you catch yourself slipping into judgment or condemnation of someone else, ask yourself instead: where do I need to grow in my walk with God?
  • Application: Focus on your walk with God, not someone else’s.

Call: How do we respond to the message?

  • Altar moment: Tonight, let’s take a moment for self-reflection. So often we set our focus on others when we ignore the needed areas of growth in our own life. If you have lived in condemnation or judgment of someone else, ask for God’s forgiveness, and shift your focus to your relationship with God.
  • Small Group Questions:
  1. How do we as humans struggle with judging others at times? Give an example.
  2. How can you personally overcome judging others in your life? Why is it hard?
  3. How did Jesus respond to someone who even deserved judgment? Do you find yourself responding like Jesus or the Pharisees?
  4. How can we practically focus on our walk with God rather than judge others this week?


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