February 7, 2016
DISTINCT: LIVING ABOVE THE NORM
SESSION 3: DISTINCT IN MY APPROACH TO CONFLICT
The Point: Take the lead in resolving conflict.
Leader Extra: Get Into the Study
Prepare for this optional introduction by reading the following article on how anger affects our health: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/06/09/how-anger-is-linked-to-your-health.html. Summarize the article for your group members after discussing Question 1, or read the summary below.
Anger affects each person differently. Some of us can become silent and resentful. Others of us can fly off the handle and lose our temper at a moment’s notice. It differs from person to person, often showing itself as a mixture between the two. The doctor in this article points out an interesting truth: anger is never the primary fear. Instead, it’s the result our attempts to hide our hurt or fear. As Christians, we’ve been given the freedom to feel hurt or afraid, and we’ve been given the responsibility to live at peace with one another.
Use the following questions to open up a conversation on this session’s main topic: conflict resolution for brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Why do you think anger has such a negative influence on us physically?
- How do those physical symptoms reflect what happens when we hold in anger without resolving conflict?
- How does anger affect your relationship with God?
- What are the best conflict resolution steps you took from this article?
Ashley Emmert wrote this Leader Extra. She is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her sweet Southern husband and their small scrappy dogs. Find her at ashleygraceemmert.com or on Twitter @ashgemmert.
Leader Extra: Study the Bible
Use this idea to supplement Question #5 (“What are the consequences of allowing a conflict to fester?”).
Begin by saying: We can easily look to current events and see the kinds of things that happen when conflicts fester.
Then share this news item:
In the Syrian city of Madaya, there are what the United Nations calls “credible reports” of people starving to death because of the ongoing conflict in that country. About 40,000 people live in Madaya, which is located northwest of Damascus and surrounded by snow-covered mountains. The city has been under siege and surrounded by rebel forces of the Syrian government and Hezbollah since last July. There are reports of children eating soup made of leaves and water. What little food is available in the city is outrageously priced, so that the residents can’t afford it. One man interviewed about the terrible conditions, said, “What did we do? What did we do? My children, they’re dying. Bring guns, bring angels, but God, help us,”. The Red Cross is now preparing supplies in hopes of bringing aid to the starving city.
Say: On the world stage, there are frequent examples of the terrible consequences that arise out of conflict. Even in our ordinary lives, far from war and national conflicts, we can see the results of conflict.
Then ask Question #5 and call for volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from: http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/08/middleeast/syria-madaya-starvation/index.html
Donna McKinney has recently retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in Apex, North Carolina.
When it comes to conflict, do you usually: avoid it at all costs, engage when necessary, or stir the pot every from time to time?
Growing up, how did your parents settle disputes between you and your brother/sister?
What’s the best advice you’ve been given on how to deal with anger?
Matthew 5: 21-22
What do you find most remarkable about Jesus’ teaching on anger?
What does our anger reveal about what we believe?
How do we know if our anger is acceptable or unacceptable?
How can we keep anger from leading to sin and lasting bitterness?
Where do you see negative consequences of anger in our community?
Matthew 5: 23-24
Why do you think reconciliation is tightly intertwined with worship?
Why is it sometimes tempting to confess our sin to God but skip making it right with others?
What steps can we take when we’re seeking reconciliation?
In your own words, how would you summarize Jesus’ teaching in these two verses?
Matthew 5: 25-26
What new standard of right and wrong is Jesus establishing in this whole passage (Matthew 5:21-26)?
What are the consequences of allowing a conflict to fester?
What are some concrete principles Jesus established in these verses?
Why is conflict resolution such an urgent matter?
What do you find hopeful in this passage?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: