Our next message series, No Offense begins the weekend of February 20th-21st. An offense is a wrong or a perceived wrong that we experience. We live in an age in which people get offended all the time by how they are treated as customers, offended by people who believe different things, and get offended because we really are hurt by other people’s words and actions.
Offenses are inevitable. They can also be a trap that leaves us in a cloud of hurt, anger, outrage, jealousy, resentment, hatred, ENTITLEMENT, and probably most common of all BITTERNESS.
Living in offense keeps us from living joyfully the life we want to live. To live the life God wants us to live we must learn to avoid the bait, the trap of being offended.
- Tell a story about a time you were offended. What are some things that most offend you?
- Choose one or two of the things that most offend you. Why do those things offend you?
- What is your most common reaction to being offended? (defensiveness, anger, revenge)
- Regarding the story you told in #1, what was your reaction to that offense? Are you still holding onto the anger? What is your relationship with that person now?
- Read Ephesians 4:26, 31-32. What does God tells us to do with our anger? According to the passage, what is one way to do that? What are some other ways that you can get rid of anger related to an offense?
Scripture – In your anger do not sin: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not vie the devil a foothold. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. -Ephesians 4:26, 31-32
- Why do you think we are we tempted to focus so much on an offense against us and lose sight of the larger picture of all the good we have?
- When have you seen God bring good out of bad in your life or in the life of friend or family member?
- Read aloud Genesis 39:2 How can we remember that God is with us even when we suffer offenses from other people?
- Joseph did the best he could in every situation and did not let the offense define him. Why do you think Joseph was able to accomplish that feat?
- Read aloud Genesis 50:19-20. What was your most recent setback? How might God want to bring good out of bad?
- Now Joseph had a dream and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. -Genesis 37:5
- “Behold, the sun, the moon and the eleven stars were bowing down to me.” -Genesis 37:9
- The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man. – Genesis 39:2
- But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. -Genesis 39:21
- “Fear not, for am in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that may people should be kept alive as they are today.” – Genesis 50:19-20
- Talk about a time that you were challenged to the point of being offended when someone corrected you regarding your faith (a message, a Small Group message, your Small Group)
- What are some ways that Jesus was offensive? Why do you think that Jesus and the cross are still offensive to some people? What about Jesus offends you? Name a time when someone gave you some feedback or criticism that offended you. Why was it
- On a scale from one to ten, how good are you at receiving feedback?
- Read John 21: 9-19. Why would Peter be offended? What qualities did Peter have that allowed him to let go of the offense and move forward with his mission? What qualities can we develop so that we can move forward with criticism and use it for our good?
Scriptures – When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep….After this he said to him, “Follow me.” -John 21: 9-19
- What keeps people from forgiving others? Why do some people refuse to forgive?
- Why is it important to believe that God has forgiven us a much larger debt than we have to forgive others?
- Read aloud Matthew 18:34-35. What does it mean to you to forgive someone from your heart?
- Do you agree that unforgiveness is worst than other sins and that it imperils our souls? Or does that seem overblown to you?
- Who is one person you need to forgive? Go around the group and have everyone pray for that person and release the debt?
- Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? “ Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. -Matthew 18:21-22
- Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. -Matthew 18:23-25
- So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. -Matthew 18:26-27
- But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, “Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went out and put him in prison until he would pay the debt. -Matthew 18:28-30
- When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then the lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ -Matthew 18:31-33
- And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. -Matthew 18:34
- So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart. –Matthew 18:35
- Do you agree that the greater our pride, the greater our ego, the more likely we will feel offended? Why or why not?
- Read aloud Romans 6:3-4. Did you know that at Baptism you were connected to Jesus’ life death, and resurrection? What implications does this truth have for your life?
- When are you most likely to feel offended as if you can do nothing about it? What does it mean that you don’t have to be a slave to that offense?
- What do you think it means to consider yourself free from sin but alive in Christ Jesus?
- In dealing with offenses, why is it important to remember that we are under grace and not under the law?
- As we wrap up this series, what has been your biggest lesson learned? What will you change as a result of this series?
- Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. -Romans 6:3-4
- For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our former self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. – Romans 6:5-6
- For he who is dead is freed from sin. -Romans 6:7
- But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. –Romans 6:8-9
- The death he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. -Romans 6:10-11
- Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. -Romans 6:13
- For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law, but under grace. -Romans 6:14
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