Main Point: We have to take responsibility for our actions, even our sinful actions.
The Movie Clip: You are guilty
Courageous is the fourth and latest offering from Sherwood Pictures, the movie company based out of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA. In their latest installment, the action-packed plot centers on four law officers who share two callings: to protect and serve, and to be courageous fathers.
But when tragedy strikes close to home, these four fathers’ hopes are tested, and they each wrestle with fear mixed with a little hope and faith. From their struggle comes the decision to take their responsibility as fathers more seriously; it will be a decision that deeply impacts them and their families.
Introducing the Clip:
Courageous is a movie about four cops who are also dads. Throughout the movie, what they learn is that it takes as much courage to be a father as it does to be an officer of the law. So, they challenge one another to be better fathers. It’s this life-changing challenge that prompts a life-changing conversation between two of the officers, David and Nathan. Take a close look at what David confides into his older partner Nathan, and then listen closely to what Nathan has to say to him.
Show the Clip:
(This clip is available from WingClips.com)
In this clip, David drops a bomb on Nathan and tells him that he has a small child that he’s never told anyone about. He’s worried that his lack of presence as a father will cause his daughter hardship down the line. His partner Nathan basically tells him that he has to take responsibility for his actions and do the right thing for the mother and the child. But then, Nathan goes on to tell David that he also has to take responsibility for his sinful actions against God. Let’s spend the next few minutes by taking a look at how we must take responsibility for our actions.
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: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and a time we had to take responsibility for our actions.
- ASK A FEW: In the clip, Nathan said, “Part of being a man is about taking responsibility.” Do you agree with Nathan’s statement? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Based on this clip, what would “taking responsibility for his actions” mean David should do with/for his daughter and the mother?
- ASK A FEW: In the clip, David confesses, “I’m just tired of feeling guilty.” Then Nathan says, “Let me break it to you this way: you are guilty!” Why would Nathan say this to David? (Leaders – Nathan was wanting to show David that he was guilty before God. That’s why he went on to say what he said.)
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: When David says he hoped his good outweighed his bad, Nathan matter-of-factly says, “That’s not how it works, and you know that.” Yes or no, do YOU know that? (Leaders – Be prepared to explain that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not built on “being good,” but “being righteous.” The only way we are made righteous is through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.)
- ASK A FEW: In this clip, Nathan moves the conversation from “taking responsibility for his sinful actions” with regard to the mother of his child to “taking responsibility for his sinful actions” with regard to God. Why is this such a big deal?
Read the following passage:
Luke 19:1-10 (NIV)
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 being a short man he could not, because of 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 what was lost.”
Hopefully, this was as powerful a time for you as it was for me. I need to be reminded of the fact that we have to take responsibility for our actions, good or bad. If we are Christians, our actions must line up with our beliefs.
It’s never easy to take responsibility for our actions. It’s never fun, either. But, taking responsibility for our actions does separate the committed from the uncommitted, for sure.
As we close, let me give you just a few reasons why taking responsibility for our actions is so important.
First, it’s just the right thing to do. Nuff said?
Second, it shows others that we really mean what we say. When Zacchaeus gave back the money he had stolen – plus some! – the people in the town of Jericho knew that Zacchaeus meant what he said. The same is true for you. When you take responsibility for your actions, others will begin to trust you more. It will also help them trust God more, because….
Third, when we take responsibility for our actions, it brings God glory. We get to show Him as a faithful God who is willing to forgive us and use even our difficult circumstances as an opportunity for good. People will see that God can do all things. People may even turn their lives over to God because we finally take responsibility.
Like I said, it isn’t easy to take responsibility, but it’s the best thing to do. I’d encourage you to seriously consider doing that immediately, if necessary. But you don’t have to do it alone. If you need help with something in your life, talk with one of our leaders before you leave. You’ll be glad you did.
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.