Walk to Remember, A (Who We Hang Around)
Main Point: We shouldn’t desire the company of wicked people; it only causes pain to us and others.
The Movie Clip: Initiating the New Kid
A Walk to Remember tells the story of two North Carolina teenagers, Landon Carter (played by Shayne West) and Jaime Sullivan (Mandy Moore), whose lives are thrown together after Landon gets into trouble and must do community service. Jamie’s feminine character is unusual by today’s standards for sure; her conservative morals and humble behavior make her an easy target for put-downs at school. And Landon, a typical guy, is intrigued by her but unable to treat her with kindness in front of his peers at school. Walk is not just a romantic “date” movie; since it has Nicolas Sparks as its author, it also has a twist that brings in the deeper issues of life.
Introducing the Clip:
I want to show you a clip from the movie A Walk to Remember. In fact, this is the opening scene of this movie. In it, we see Landon’s crowd of misfits inducting a new guy into their group. Clay Gephardt thinks he wants to join the group, but must first complete a ritual of initiation. Let’s take a look at what he’s willing to do “to belong” to see if there’s anything we can learn from it.
BEGIN CLIP AT 3 MINUTES and 53 SECONDS (in Chapter 1)
- Dean: OK, here’s the deal. You’re gonna jump from up there into here. That’s it. Then you’re one of us. OK? You ready?
Dean: Alright. Alright. Let’s do this, OK?
Landon: Hey, it’s cake man. Hell, I’m jumpin’ with ya.
Clay: How deep is this?
Landon: I don’t really know. Let’s go find out.
(As Landon and Clay climb the structure over the water, the group below howls and taunts them to jump. When Landon and Clay arrive at the top of the tower, their conversation continues…)
Clay: You done this?
Landon: Yeah man. We’ve all done this. On three. One. Two Three! (Landon then pushes Clay off the structure into the water below, but doesn’t jump himself.)
(Clay’s body hits the water, and when he finally surfaces, he’s not moving. The group of friends standing next to the water begin to panic and scream for Landon to save him. They point out that he’s hurt and that he’s not moving. Landon races down the structure and into the water to help Clay. Meanwhile, a security guard sees the group of teenagers and radios for police back up. Finally, Landon is able to pull Clay’s body from the water. By this time, sirens can be heard, and the group flees the scene, leaving a bloody Clay behind.)
In this clip, we saw that Clay desperately wanted to join in with a group of his peers. Even knowing the characters for just a few seconds, we clearly got the impression these kids were trouble. But Clay was willing to risk his life to belong to the group. Instead, he wound up in the hospital. Though most of us don’t know many people who will jump off a tower to join a group, all of us want to “belong.” The trouble is, some of the groups that we want to belong to are nothing but trouble. Let’s talk about that for the next few minutes.
Divide into Small Groups:
We are going to discuss this idea of setting personal boundaries in our small groups. Let’s get into those groups now.
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 whether or not we are daredevils.
- ASK A FEW: We don’t really know, and the movie never tells us the answer, but why do you think Clay wanted to join the group so badly?
- ASK A FEW: Was Clay’s decision wise or foolish? Why?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think the group of teenagers was a good group to belong to, or not? How do you know?
- ASK A FEW: How strong is our urge as humans “to belong”?
- ASK A FEW: How do you pick which groups of people to belong to?
Read the following passage:
Proverbs 24:1-4 and 21-22 (NIV)
Do not envy wicked men, do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble. By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.
Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with the rebellious, for those two will send sudden destruction upon them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?
Tonight we saw what can happen when we so desperately want to belong to a group of people that we’re willing to risk our lives. Sometimes we get hurt, and sometimes we hurt others.
But that’s not a surprise to the writers of the Bible. They’ve known that for years. In fact, we read the wisdom they want to share with us just a moment ago. Basically, the Bible says that if we desire to keep company with wicked or evil people, we risk the destruction of our lives.
I want to ask all of us to take a moment and look over the relationships we keep. See if they can be defined as “wicked” or “rebellious” or “violent” or “trouble.” If they can, you need to think long and hard about changing those relationships. If you don’t, you could face the same reality that Clay faced in the clip we watched.
There’s an old saying that goes: If you lay down with dogs, you’ll wake up with fleas.” The simple point of that saying is that we tend to become those we hang around. So, are those people you hang around a godly influence on you or not?
Jesus wants the best for us. That includes our relationships. If we’re messing around with people who aren’t pushing us to be more like Jesus, then we need to change. We need to seek relationships with people who want to please God.
I know this might be very difficult for some of us. Change is never easy, especially change that’s so important. So, if you need some help with this, or want to talk about it some more, see one of us after we close in prayer. We’d love to help you have relationships that please God.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; 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.