Share about a time you had a difficult conversation with someone. Was the conversation beneficial? Is there anything you wish you could have done differently in that conversation? (Intent: To help us see we all have difficult conversations and all of us can improve. This is a very relevant topic for today)
- What stood out to you from Sunday’s message? Did God lay anything specific on your heart? Were you prompted to any specific action? (Intent: A simple way to start the discussion. Leave time for everyone to give input. They may include observations from Sunday night’s session as well)
- Many of the New Testament epistles address quarreling in the church. As you think through the New Testament, what were some of the quarrels about? Were they healthy or unhealthy? How did the writers of the New Testament address those problems? (Intent: Think Biblically but broad. Quarrels in the church are nothing new, but there good and bad ways to handle them.)
- Read the following passages: 1 Corinthians 10:4-5; 1 Peter 3:15; 2 Timothy 4:2. What do these passages teach us about the need to have difficult conversations? (Intent: There are times when difficult conversations are necessary, and not something to avoid. This is especially true when it comes to the Gospel.)
- Read the following passages: Romans 14:19; Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Timothy 2:23-24. How do these passages speak into how we are to have difficult conversations? (Intent: Difficult conversations are necessary, but as Christians we are to avoid arguing and the way we have these conversations matters. If we find ourselves being divisive and argumentative we are out of line with the Scripture)
- What are some practical steps you can take to have difficult conversations in a healthier way? (Moving towards a personal application. What’s just one thing each person can do)
- Can you think of someone you will have (or should have) a difficult conversation with? Spend some time praying for that conversation. How can you prepare yourself for that conversation? (Intent: Making the application tangible. Some of us have people in our lives that we know will be brining up difficult conversations. Help each person prepare for those. Others know they need to have a difficult conversation, perhaps about the Gospel, but they are avoiding it. Help each person make a plan to have that conversation. Be sure to pray for each of those upcoming conversations during your prayer time!)
Father, thank you for being a God of peace, who made peace with us even when we were unworthy. Help us reflect your character by being peaceful with those around us. Help us to engage in difficult but worthy topics with others in a way that glorifies you. May we become a people that stands on the truth but speaks it in love. Thank you for the opportunity to shine your light by the way that we speak and live. Amen.
Throughout the questions each person should identify either a difficult conversation they need to have with someone, or a difficult conversation that they know will just come up. For those who know they need to initiate the conversation, encourage them to reach out to that person this week and set it up. For those who know the conversation is coming, ask what is one thing they have learned from Sunday that they will use in that conversation.
- What evidence or examples do you see of what Deborah Tannen calls, the argument culture, in social media or the nightly news?
- Do you agree with Daniel Taylor's assessment that the Church has adopted the argument culture when discussing theological, political, or social issues?
- Why is it so hard to overlook an insult emotionally or intellectual ly? And, does it seem reasonable to offer a "blessing" instead? What might a blessing look like?
- Read 1 Pet. 2:23. What encouragement does it give knowing that Jesus himself lived out Peter's admonition concerning a response to insults?