Imagine that as you drive home from church today, your family witnesses a car accident. Your family stops to help and make sure that everyone is okay; other drivers who witnessed the accident stop as well. When the police arrive, they interview you, your family members, and the other drivers on scene. The officer asks the exact same questions of each person who saw the accident happen, but some of the answers the officer receives are different.
- Why would the police officer get different answers from witnesses who saw the same accident? (The witnesses’ answers are dependent on their view of the accident and where they were/what they saw when it happened.)
- Does the fact that the officer received different answers to his questions mean that someone is lying? (Not necessarily; just because one witness saw something that another didn’t does not mean that a witness is being dishonest.)
Every day, all day long, you make choices and decisions that guide your actions, your words, and your thoughts. The choices that you make may be completely different than someone else’s, or they might be exactly the same. Our lives are filled with situations in which our reactions may be very different than someone else’s.
People can respond differently to something as simple as food. Take a second to think about your favorite fast food restaurant.
- In your opinion, what’s the best fast food meal? What’s the worst? (Answers will vary. Make sure that your students understand that not everyone responds the same way to the same thing.)
- Can you think of a time in your life when you experienced several people reacting in different ways to the same situation? (Student responses will vary, but may include sporting events with a winning team [and happy fans] and a losing team [with unhappy fans], different reactions to a new food served for dinner, a movie or TV show that is liked by some but disliked by others.)
- Is it easy or hard to predict how others are going to respond to our actions? (Answers will vary—we are all different, we can’t expect to know how someone is going to react, especially if they have had a bad day or are in a bad mood.)
We can only be responsible for what we do and the choices we make; we can’t control what others will say or do. As we continue to learn about Paul, we’ll see in today’s lesson what happened when Paul shared his faith and got very different reactions from the people who were listening.