We are made by God for relationships but often our relationships are broken. What causes this and how does the gospel give us the wisdom to see our relationships healed?
Questions for Small Groups:
To start your group, have everyone share something that God is doing in your life this past week.
A. Broken Relationships.
There are two things that lead to our broken relationships: our destructive words and our twisted hearts.
1. Read Proverbs 18:21- Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
In what ways have you seen the reality of this Proverb? Have you had someone speak life into your life? Have you been hurt by someone else’ words? Can you share an example?
2. Read Proverbs 10:18-20. 18. The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.
19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. 20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
“Conceal hatred” literally means to have ill-will toward someone else. Have you ever found yourself wishing for someone else’s failure? Downfall? Unhappiness? What about in your work place? Family? Politics? Church?
3. It is easy for us through ill-will and indictment to become the very thing that we hate. Are you able to recognize when this is happening in your own heart?
B. Restoring relationships.
Think about a relationship that needs to be restored in your own life. Pastor Mark gave us four steps to restoring relationships:
4. First- Resist Superiority.
Proverbs 11:12. Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.
“Belittles” = You feel superior to others.
“Lacks Sense”- literally says “has no heart.”
In what ways might superiority be destroying one of your relationships? How does superiority cause a distorted view of ourselves?
How does our self- justification lead to our feelings of superiority?
5. Second- Release others from their debt.
Proverbs 24:29. Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.”
Proverbs 17:9. Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
Is there someone that you need to forgive? Are you holding someone in your debt?
6. Third- Overcome evil with good.
Proverbs 25:21. If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
Romans 12:21. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Can you think of a way to show compassion towards those who have hurt you? In what way does their behavior hurt them even more than it hurts you?
7. Fourth- Confront if necessary.
Proverbs 27:5-6. Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Why is it unloving to never confront? Why must confrontation always follow after forgiveness?
C. The Power of Jesus.
The four steps to restoring relationships are impossible without our Savior.
8. How did Jesus in his life and death obey the four steps above and restore our relationship with God?
9. How does the cross of Jesus remove all superiority from our lives and allow us to forgive and reconcile with others?
10. How does our new heart (one that is loved by Jesus and able to love Jesus) allow us to overcome evil with good?