February 28, 2016
DISTINCT: LIVING ABOVE THE NORM
SESSION 6: DISTINCT IN MY LOVE
Leader Extra: Get Into the Study
The Point: Love everyone unconditionally.
Leader Extra: Get Into the Study
Share the true story of Edith Cavell with your group members, and then use the questions below to help prepare them for your exploration of Session 6: Distinct in My Love.
Not many of us can say that we’ve worked to save lives on the battlefield, but Edith Cavell did. As a nurse with the Allied troops in World War I, she served with excellence whenever people needed her help, no matter which uniforms they wore. Yet she also went above and beyond her calling, taking steps to free 200 Allied troops who had been captured in occupied Belgium.
Cavell was sentenced to death by German authorities for her part in the escape. On the evening before her execution, she said this: “Standing as I do in view of God and Eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”
As we go into the election season, and as it seems our country — and our culture — are always at war with someone, what would it look like for Christians to love this way? To have no hatred or bitterness toward anyone, regardless of how much or how little we agree with them?
- How do you typically handle bitterness toward others?
- Why do you think God asks us to love even those who are our enemies?
- What is one step you can take this week to bless someone who makes your life harder?
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 some opportunities we have to express unconditional love?”)
Begin by sharing this news story:
Flint, Michigan, is experiencing a water crisis – the city’s water has been contaminated with lead since April 2014, and city residents now have to use bottled water for drinking, bathing, and cooking. A state of emergency has been declared, and the President has designated funds to help make the water safe again.
Detroit Lions football player Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah decided to help the residents by sending bottled water to the city. On January 22, he delivered 94,000 bottles of drinking water to Flint. Ansah and some of his teammates helped unload the truck load of bottled water.
Ansah, born and raised in Africa, said he could relate to the situation in Flint because of the years he spent in Africa. “I am thankful to be in a position to do something about this,” said Ansah. “These are our fans,” he said. “These are the people that support us and it means something to be able to help them as well.” Other professional football players, including the Seattle Seahawks Thomas Rawls and the Washington Redskins defensive line, are also helping to provide safe water for the people of Flint.
Say: Football player Ziggy Ansah showed love in meeting the physical needs of a city.
Then direct attention to Question #5 and call for the group to share responses about ways they can express love.
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
If money were no object, what would you love to do?
Do you tend to use the word “love” freely or are you more reserved with it’s use?
What are three things you’ve said you loved this week?
Matthew 5: 43-45
What are some practical ways to love someone you don’t like?
How would you define an enemy in your life?
What’s your initial reaction to these verses?
Where do you see the “love those who love you” principle at work in the world around you?
How do we tend to justify our disobedience to Jesus’ commands in these verses?
How does it feel to attempt to love those who seem unlovable? How does it feel to be loved when you’re being unlovable?
Matthew 5: 46-47
How does Jesus differentiate between easy love and difficult love in this passage?
What is the reward for loving others—even the unlovely?
What can be gained by loving those who don’t love us?
When is loving others easy, when is it hard, and when is it necessary? Explain.
Matthew 5: 48
What emotions surface when you read this verse?
What are some opportunities we have as individuals to express unconditional love? What are some opportunities we have as a group?
How does the command to love like God comfort or challenge you?
How do we, as imperfect people, love like God loves?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: