Main Point of Discussion:
When people’s hearts are changed by the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, we must see them the way God does: redeemed and transformed.
Introducing the Clip:
One of the most popular and beloved Christmas stories is “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” But even though it is popular, and we’ve seen it over and over, many times we miss one of the most important points of the story. As we watch the clip, ask yourself how you would describe the Grinch.
Show the Movie Clip:
(If you own the DVD or rent it, you can cue it up to the spot listed below. Or you can use the YouTube embedded clip above.)
BEGIN CLIP AT 1 HOUR AND 22 MINUTES AND 0 SECONDS
(Here is the content of this clip in true Dr. Seuss style.)
Then the Grinch heard a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low, then it started to grow.
But the sound wasn't sad. Why, this sounded merry.
But it was merry. Very. Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his Grinch feet ice-cold in the snow...stood puzzling and puzzling. How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
And he puzzled and puzzled...till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
Maybe Christmas-he thought--doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more.
Help me! I'm...feeling!
And what happened then--Well, in Whoville they say...that the Grinch's
small heart grew three sizes that day
END CLIP AT 1 HOUR AND 27 MINUTES AND 30 SECONDS
This clip is a great illustration of what has happened inside everyone who has truly trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation: their heart has been changed! But sometimes the joy of that moment is forgotten and others still act as though our hearts are still the same. We need to remember that when people’s hearts are changed by the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, we must see them the way God does: redeemed and transformed.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: Before we dive in, everybody share your name and some of your favorite memories of Christmas.
- ASK A FEW: Have you ever referred to someone as a “Grinch”? Why?
- ASK A FEW: What three words would you use to describe the Grinch?
- ASK A FEW: What caused his heart to grow 3 times larger?
- ASK A FEW: For those that know the story, how would you describe his transformation after his heart grows?
- ASK A FEW: If you lived in Whoville, would you have believed that the Grinch truly changed? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think everyone in Whoville was accepting of the Grinch after that Christmas? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: How do you imagine the next Christmas unfolding in the story?
- ASK A FEW: Have you ever seen a real life “Grinch” transformed? What happened?
- ASK A FEW: How did you treat that person after he/she was transformed?
Read the following passage from the Bible:
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Explain to the group that tax collectors were Jews who worked for the hated Roman Empire and collected money for them. They were allowed to cheat people in order to make more money.
ASK A FEW: What parallels do you see between The Grinch and Zacchaeus?
ASK A FEW: What caused such an immediate and radical transformation in Zacchaeus?
ASK A FEW: Would you say that Zacchaeus’ heart grew three sizes that day? Why or why not?
ASK A FEW: Why did the people “begin to mutter”?
ASK A FEW: What do you think the crowd was ‘muttering’?
ASK A FEW: Why did they still see Zacchaeus as a “sinner” after his obvious change?
ASK A FEW: In what ways do we sometimes respond like the people when a “sinner’s” heart is transformed by Jesus? (Leaders – Really explore this question; it’s the key to this whole discussion.)
ASK A FEW: Who, if God saved and forgave them, would cause you to ‘mutter’?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: This week, how will you help those who used to be Grinches, but are now Christ-followers?
The bottom line in this story is this: when people’s hearts are changed by the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, we must see them the way God does: redeemed and transformed. When we ‘mutter’ about people who have wronged us and then have a changed heart, we are basically saying that we deserve God’s grace…but they don’t. But that misses the whole point of grace, which tells us that there are NO limits to Jesus’ generosity. None of us deserve it, which is why when the Giver of all givers saves us we have no choice but to extend that grace to others…no matter what. The term Grinch should really mean someone who needed transformation and found it- like Zacchaeus - and us!
Give students a pencil and paper and then ask them to write down the name of the person that would cause them to ‘mutter’ if they received salvation. Ask them to write a short letter of encouragement to that person expressing their joy at the news of their transformation. If they can’t think of a specific name, they can write the letter to Zacchaeus.
Close in Prayer