The Bible is filled with stories of imperfect people… just like your students.
If you look at the big picture of their lives, you’ll see that it’s often how God used them after they made poor choices that make their stories memorable.
It’s beautiful to see this pattern over and over again in scripture.
But do your students have that same perspective when their friends or others they know mess up?
God can use your students to help bring healing and restoration when they see others struggle in their walk with God.
Use this youth group lesson on restoration, based on Galatians 6:1, to teach students that when others make mistakes, they should guide them back to Jesus where they can find restoration with God.
– Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON RESTORATION
Written by Carrie Busch
Bible: Galatians 6:1
Bottom Line: When others make mistakes, we should guide them back to Jesus, where they can find restoration with God.
OPENING GAME: GUIDE THE BLIND
- Two Bibles (or one per student, if possible)
- Two targets
- List of Bible Verses (two copies – one per team)
Divide students into two teams of equal size.
Choose one player from each team to be blindfolded.
Choose one player from each team to act as the “director.”
The rest of the team will use Bibles to earn points that can be used by the director as the game begins.
Assign one youth leader to each group to keep track of the points their team earns.
Use tape to create two lanes that lead to a wall.
Place two targets, one for each team, onto the wall at about chest height.
Give each team a copy of the “List of Bible Verses.”
List of Bible Verses
- Isaiah 61:7
- Jeremiah 17:14
- Job 42:10
- Galatians 6:1
- 1 Peter 5:10
- Psalm 51:12
- 2 Kings 20:5
- Isaiah 40:31
- Job 22:23
- Psalm 30:2
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
The goal of each team is to help the blindfolded teammate to reach and touch his/her target.
Say: When I say, “GO,” the youth leader for each team will spin each blindfolded teammate five times.
The “director’s” job will be to give one-word directions to the blindfolded teammate.
The director can only give a command once the team has earned a “point.”
So, the faster the team earns points, the more directions the director can give.
HOW TO EARN POINTS
The youth leader assigned to each team will have a list of Bible verses related to the topic of today’s lesson: restoration.
Once they finish spinning the blindfolded teammate, they’ll give their assigned team a scripture reference.
The team gets a point by finding that scripture and reading it out loud to the youth leader.
Each point allows the director to give a one-word direction to the blindfolded teammate (ex: forward, left, right, turn, etc.).
After the first point is earned and the first direction is given, the staff member then provides the team with a new scripture reference, and the game continues until the blindfolded teammate has been directed toward and has touched the target.
The first team to touch the target wins!
Say: Our game was a quick introduction to our topic of the day – restoration.
The word “restoration” can take many different forms…
Antique furniture that is worn or damaged can be “restored” to almost like-new condition.
Photographs that have faded or been stained or torn can be “restored” to their original beauty.
In fact, almost everything that we see all around us can be repaired if it is damaged, if placed in the hands of someone qualified to repair it.
You would never ask a toddler restore an old car, but you would take it to an expert who knows everything about it and has previously restored cars.
The same is true when it comes to our relationship with God.
Let’s read Galatians 6:1
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.
Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
If you know your Bible, you know it’s filled with stories of imperfect people… just like us.
In fact, I can’t think of a single person mentioned in the Bible (other than Jesus, of course) who didn’t make some seriously huge mistakes.
But if you take a look at the big picture of their lives, like Peter, for example, you’ll see that it’s often how God used them afterward that makes their stories memorable.
We don’t often obsess over Peter’s denial of Jesus, but rather the immense leadership and successful ministry that Jesus gave him after the resurrection.
We don’t often favor the story of David’s affair with Bathsheba, but rather rejoice in his defeat of Goliath.
Both of these examples show how a faithful follower can not only fall into sin but be restored to their former position of obedience to God.
It’s beautiful to see this pattern over and over again in scripture.
But do we have that same perspective when believers that we know commit a grave sin?
Are we willing to look to their purpose in Christ and not to their demise?
Maybe it’s because their story isn’t over yet.
You see, the difference between those Biblical accounts and the stories of our friends or neighbors is that the stories in the Bible are already complete.
It’s different when someone we know falls into sin.
For some reason, it’s harder to see victory because we don’t know the end of the story.
Maybe we have a hard time envisioning how God could or will ever use them in light of their terrible deeds.
Or maybe we have trouble hanging in there with them through the consequences that inevitably come from sin.
Either way, turning our back on someone who has made a huge mistake is not what the Bible teaches us.
In fact, our relationship with believers who stumble should look more like the game we played today.
Let’s think back to that game and its purpose.
Ask: Which teammate do you think would represent the believer who has fallen into sin? (The blindfolded teammate)
Yes, the one who was blindfolded represented the person caught in sin, and the director and team represented you, me, and the church.
Our job, just like in the game, is to guide those who have made mistakes back to their purpose in Christ.
When a person is caught in sin, it’s tough for him or her to see reality.
It can seem that there is no hope or no way out.
They are sized-up and judged only by what they’ve done wrong, but not by the purpose they have in Christ.
That’s where we come in.
We have a job to do.
Take a look back at the scripture.
Re-read Galatians 6:1.
Who is supposed to “restore the sinner gently”?
Does this mean that we approve of their sin?
But we are not supposed to give up on them.
God still has a plan and purpose for His followers’ lives, no matter what they’ve done.
So, before you walk away from someone who is struggling in their relationship with God, think about Peter and David, or the many other Biblical figures who found their purpose in Christ, even after a serious blunder.
Allow your words and actions to encourage each other, not to tear each other down.
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- In the past, what has been your response to another believer’s sin?
- Have you had experience “restoring” a brother or sister in Christ? If so, share it with the group and describe some of the challenges you faced.
- Where can you go if you don’t know how to properly help a friend with his or her sin?
- Have you ever been cast out because of your wrongdoing? How did it feel?
- What is the difference between restoring someone gently and approving of their sin?
- Why do you think God has given us this job of helping restore others?
- Think of another Biblical figure that God used powerfully after he/she committed a huge, unthinkable sin? Discuss your examples with the group.
- Why do you think scripture warns us to be careful about temptation as we are helping a believer caught in sin?
- What’s easier: addressing sin with gentleness or with judgment? Why do you think so?
- When is it okay to walk away from someone caught in sin?
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