Sunday, August 27th
Relationships are a wonderful thing. We find companionship, comfort, wisdom, strength, intimacy, and so much more with other people…until conflict happens, that is. But when others hurt or anger us, we sometimes feel excused from loving them if that means speaking the truth with gentle grace, which God has commanded us to do. So is it worth it to push through our fear, hurt, and anger to pursue reconciliation in our relationships? How does God want this process to look in our lives?
Work through the following Scriptures and questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning!
1. What is the best AND the hardest thing about relationships with others?
2. Share about a time a friend, co-worker, or family member hurt or frustrated you, and what you did. Do you feel like you handled it well?
3. Have you ever lost a relationship with someone because you or the other person were unwilling to talk about it and reconcile? What about the opposite? Has there been a time when a relationship almost shattered, but you were able to talk it out? If you’re comfortable, share about one of those situations.
4. Read Proverbs 27:5-6. Have you ever spoken truth in love to someone, and they later expressed to you how grateful they were for your honesty? Or, has someone else spoken truth to you that you were later truly grateful for? If so, share about those experiences.
5. In order to fight for a relationship, we have to be willing to talk to the other person when we’ve been wronged, but sometimes we can overreact. How do you gauge when to talk about feeling wronged and when to let it go?
6. Read Matthew 18:15-17. Why do you think it’s easier to go vent to someone else when you’ve been wronged, rather than going privately to the one who hurt you, as Jesus commanded?
7. Read Ephesians 4:15. Pray through this scripture, and take on the challenge from the message this week by asking God to make clear who you should speak truth to. Once you’ve spoken with him/her, continue to pray for the person you spoke with, and ask God to continue to give you the courage to speak truth in love in the future.
Proverbs 27:5-6 – Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
Matthew 18:15-17 – “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church…
Ephesians 4:15 – Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
As you begin to apply this week’s message and look to speak truth, a great way to dig deeper is to dive into the “Build Others” outcome on Gateway’s Spiritual Growth Path.
Here’s an excerpt: Profound truths often come at the intersection of two or more important truths that seem to hold each other in tension or to refine each other. Dealing with other people’s shortcomings, failures, and sin is no exception. On the one hand, we hear Christ say, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 1:7). On the other hand, James tells us, “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (James 5:20). With these two passages in mind, consider John’s description of Jesus. Very briefly, he tells us Jesus was filled with “grace and truth” (John 1:14). We all know the pain of being corrected. It’s not at all pleasant, and yet Proverbs tell us that if we “rebuke the wise and they will love you” (Proverbs 9:8). If we are to authentically love people, we must carefully consider how we build others up. Building others up will at times involve helping them see a faulty foundation, so there is something firm upon which to build. But foundation work is both sensitive and invasive. To do this, a person must really know what they are doing, and they must have the kind of relationship where these kind of conversations have hope of being productive. The process is both spiritual and pragmatic. It takes prayer, and it takes thoughtfulness. We must be careful of our own perspective and motives, and we must carefully consider the perspective and receptivity of our friends. To neglect their well-being is unloving, but to neglect their readiness is useless at best and destructive at worst. Scripture speaks broadly to how we build each other up. Careful thought to the topic will empower us to both authentically and productively love those we truly do love.
Explore the rest of this spiritual outcome with your friends, family, life group, or running partner. You can find the outcome in its entirety at the web address listed below.
SPIRITUAL OUTCOMES— gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/build-others