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Making Decisions with Miley

Main Point of Discussion: We must make godly decisions…or prepare to pay a price.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: (The following should help you contextualize this very popular issue so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.)

  • Miley Cyrus made a decision that she regretted big time. The Associated Press spelled it out: Miley Cyrus is taking issue with a photo of herself that's going around, and it's not another amateur, truth-or-dare Internet snapshot — it's the handiwork of Annie Leibovitz (a renowned photographer whose edgy, silver-toned portraits have included other celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson and a naked, pregnant Demi Moore).

  • Here’s what Miley said: “I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be 'artistic' and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.”

  • The racy photo appeared in Vanity Fair magazine (and all over the Internet).

  • Above all, don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
    Q: What was going on with Miley Cyrus?
    A: She regretted letting a racy photo of herself (taken by a famous photographer) get published (by a famous magazine).

    Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to Miley’s decision?
    A: We should pray for her and not judge her, remembering not only that she’s young and that she was probably under a lot of pressure to do what a powerful media wanted her to do—but also that we are just as vulnerable to making bad decisions.

    Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this situation to actually living out those opinions?
    A: The famous phrase, “What would Jesus do?” comes in handy here. It’s a great question to ask whenever we’re faced with important (and even seemingly not-so-important) decisions. When we’re in Miley’s shoes and faced with a lot of pressure to do something that we feel “funny” about, we should go to God in prayer and do our best to represent Christ with our responses. (And even when we’re not in Miley’s shoes and the decision seems “obvious,” there’s no harm in going to God in prayer: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”—Proverbs 3:5-6)

Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, keep engaging them.

For Deeper Discussion: (If your kids seem into diving in deeper, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)

CLICK HERE if you want to look at a quick training article on small groups and drawing questions out of young people—you may find much of the information applicable as you go through this subject with your family members.

Transitional Statement:

Chances are good that all of us have done something that we regretted later. Chances are also good that we paid some sort of price for those actions. If we think about those moments, we’ll probably find that it was poor decision making that got us into trouble.

More Discussion Questions:

  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Have you ever made a decision and regretted it later?

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: The world sometimes puts a lot of pressure on us to do the wrong thing. Miley said that it was hard to say “no” to Annie...with her “puppy dog look” she was very convincing. Is there someone or something that's hard for you to say no to?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How can we equip ourselves to make good decisions even when there is pressure to make bad ones?

  4. Read the following passage:

      Ephesians 4:14-15 (NLT)
      [14] “Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. [15] Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church."

  5. ASK A FAMILY MEMBER: According to the beginning of the verses, what will we no longer be like? What does that mean?

  6. ASK A FAMILY MEMBER: According to the end of the verses, what should we be like? How can we do that?

  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: The Bible says here that we should “hold to the truth in love.” How can we recognize truth?

  8. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Specifically, what is one way that you could try to be more like Christ this week?

Wrap Up:
Tonight, we saw just how easy it is for us to be tricked by the world into making poor decisions. Not only has it happened to lots of celebrities, including Miley, it’s also happened to us! The world can be pretty convincing in their lies, so much so that their lies begin to sound like the truth in the moment.

But the worst part of believing the world’s lies – and making poor decisions – is that we usually have to pay a price. Often the price we pay is much higher than we expected.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could know what the truth was in every circumstance? To be honest, that is very tough! But I think we can get some help on the matter from Jesus. During one point in His ministry, 2,000 years ago, He said that everything in the Bible hinged on two commands. The first command was that we love God with all that we are. The second command was that we love other people as much as we love ourselves.

Now, when we get a chance to make decisions, we can ask ourselves, “Does this decision allow me to love God perfectly AND love other people perfectly?” If the answer is no, then we should not make that decision. We should keep looking for God’s truth in the circumstance.

But knowing the truth is not enough. We still have to make decisions that line up with the truth of the Bible! If we don’t make godly decisions, we will have to pay a price.

Let’s all learn a lesson from Miley about making godly decisions based on God’s truth. It will honor God…and make our lives a lot better!

Close in Prayer

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