Britain’s Got Talent (Again)
Main Point: Human beings simply cannot be judged based on their appearances. If we really want to make an informed decision about others, we have to look at their heart…like God does.
Discussion Starter: The Duo of Jonathan and Charlotte
All of us remember the shock and awe we experienced several years ago when we first heard Susan Boyle sing on Britain’s Got Talent. Here was a lady who “looked” well past her prime, not exactly attractive, and a little outdated.
But then she sang.
Her vocal abilities swept the hearts of studio viewers – and the millions watching via TV around the world, as well! It was a good reminder that we should never judge a book by its cover.
But we still do.
And many times, we get burned by our assumptions. Like, in the case of Jonathan and Charlotte, contenders in this year’s Britain’s Got Talent competition. The similarities between this duo’s story and Boyle’s are almost too many to count. When this couple walked on stage, almost everyone in the room made up their minds about them…before they ever heard them sing.
Then, they sang. Take a look at what happened next.
From the looks of it, most people in the crowd that night – including Simon Cowell – were willing to judge Jonathan and Charlotte before they ever heard them sing. You probably noticed the looks on people’s faces when they saw the pair, and even read what Simon said in the subtitles. Everybody thought they were chumps until they heard them sing. Then, everyone realized the duo were champs! Why do we try to judge people by what they look like on the outside? We rarely take the time to look more deeply at a person, but that’s exactly what God tells us to do in His Word. So, let’s take a few moments to learn a powerful lesson from the Bible so we can avoid this mistake in the future.
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.
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- AROUND THE CIRCLE: OK, some of you saw this on TV or online already, but be honest; what did you really think when you saw the couple for the first time (whenever it was)?
- ASK A FEW: What was the crowd’s reaction during the pre-singing interview versus their reaction after the duo sang?
- ASK A FEW: When the duo walked out, Simon leaned over to his fellow judge and said, “Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse.” Are you surprised that he also “judged” Jonathan and Charlotte before hearing them sing?
- ASK A FEW: It seems as though Jonathan had been facing judging eyes most of his life; he said so in his pre-singing interview. What effect did he say it had on him?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think most people really do “judge a book by its cover” or do they take the time to find out what’s inside of others before making a final decision? What evidence do you have?
- ASK A FEW: What effect does it have on people when we blindly judge them without really knowing them?
- ASK A FEW: Equally importantly, what does it say about us if we blindly judge people just by looking at their shell?
Read the following passage:
Context: God had chosen a man named Saul to be king over the land of Israel, but when Saul continued to sin, God eventually was sorry He had made him king. So, God told His prophet Samuel to go and anoint another king. That other king would be David…that is if Samuel listened to God instead of following his own preconceived misconceptions about David. Check it out.
1 Samuel 16:1-13 (NIV)
The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” 2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me.” The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.” 4 Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?” 5 Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.” 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” 12 So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.
Tonight we had the opportunity to be stunned by a person with lots of talent…who looked like a regular Joe if ever there was one. But hopefully, we all learned an important lesson about judging others based on their appearances: we shouldn’t do it.
I mean, think about it. Aren’t there about a billion better ways to try and understand people? How about looking at the way they speak to their families? How about taking note of their character? How about by observing if they are hard workers? How about by studying their habits, good or bad? How about the way he or she lives out their faith? Don’t those ideas give us a much clearer picture of who a person truly is?
Without a doubt, I know that every single person in this room has made assumptions about somebody in their life…and sadly, it may be on shallow things like the way they dress or wear their hair. So, here’s my challenge to you. I’d like for you to get to know the person you may be superficially judging. Take the time to get to know them better. Invest in them and find out who they are, why they are unique, and what makes them special. Who knows, you might discover something as dramatic as Simon Cowell discovered in Jonathan.
Regardless, you’ll be making decisions about others in a way that pleases God. And the importance of that cannot be understated.
Before I close in prayer for all of us, let’s spend some time praying silently about the people God is placing on our hearts right now. Let’s ask Him to give us a heart to truly get to know them better and more deeply.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.