Friday, December 29, 2017

Christian Outdoor Object Lesson 59: Shadowy Reputation

Key Verse

“Don’t judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24 WEB


This lesson is best done on a sunny day. A tree shadow works best but it can be adapted to any object with a large shadow.

Facing away from a large tree, look at the trees shadow. Describe the tree: how tall is it? how big around? what color? how old? what hardships has it faced in its life, drought, forest fire, lighting strike? You cannot give a precise description because you are not looking at the tree itself but rather how the sun and ground distort its image.

The shadow is a lot like a reputation. Other people can distort a person’s reputation or image. That’s why we are not to judge others by appearance, by their reputation, or by hearsay. Instead we are to judge with righteous judgement. Another translation says to judge with innocent judgment.

Jesus taught that people can be known by their fruits or actions. But man looks on the outside and only God knows what’s on the inside and knows what truly motivates a person to do the things he or she does. A tree is determined by the type of fruit it produces, not by its shadow. Turn around and describe the tree now: how tall is it? what color? how big around? what hardships has it faced in its life?

If we want to truly know a tree we must take time to get to know it. To interact with it. Foresters measure trees with tape measure and take core samples to see how drought, fire, or lighting has affected it. That is how God knows each of us. That is how He wants us to get to know others. Whenever you see a shadow think about how you can get to know people instead of judging them by reputation or appearance.


Have you ever been judged by your reputation or appearance? How did that feel?

How did Jesus treat people with a bad reputation or appearance?

Does Jesus know what it is like to be judged on reputation or appearance?

What does it mean to judge with righteous judgement?

Written By David F. Garner