Small Group Discussion Guide
-What’s Your Plank?-
• In a TV episode of The Simpsons, their “evangelical” neighbor said: “We don’t judge Homer and Marge; we leave that to a vengeful God.” How does this represent true Christianity, or caricature it, or misrepresent it? What might a Christian say instead?
1. Read Matthew 7:1-5
- How does judging (whether we are the judge or the judged) affect our relationships with other people?
- How does judging others affect our relationship with God?
- What are “specks” that you have recently seen in others’ eyes?
- What is the “plank” that is in your own eye? [That plank (a spirit of condemnation) could be based on somebody else's morality, ethnicity, behavior, religious beliefs, or political ideology.]
2. Pastor Bryan made two key statements: 1) Judging does not mean we have to give up making moral discernments or being wise. 2) The judging Jesus forbids means having a spirit of condemnation and rejection. Explain the difference between these two statements.
3. Read John 3:17: Romans 8:1
- What is the extent of God’s forgiveness of you because of Jesus’ death and resurrection?
- How secure are you in God’s opinion of you and his judgment of you?
4. It has been said in various ways: “love the sinner, critique only their sin.”
- How might thinking twice about a person help us to see them from God’s perspective?
- If someone is being critical of you, how might thinking of this maxim help you isolate the useful feedback from the potentially hurtful expression?
5. Read Luke 15:11-32
- How does the older brother show judgment of his younger brother?
- How does the older brother show judgment of his father?
- Explain how the father’s attitude toward each of his sons demonstrates Jesus’ teaching about not judging.
Q) How do I stand up for what’s right without being self-righteous?
A) Offer gentle noncooperation with evil.
• Share a scenario of what it might look like to ‘offer gentle noncooperation with evil’?
What can you do this week, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to get rid of your ‘plank’, see others’ actions as Jesus sees your actions, and treat them as you want Jesus to treat you?