This week's Small Group Guide is composed of questions from this week's GPS Guide. The questions relate to the Scripture for that particular day. You can download the full week's GPS as a printable document for the context of each question below (in the printable version, the recommended small group questions are marked with a special bullet point).
How do you understand “love your enemies”? Do you believe Jesus meant altering your emotions toward them to be more affectionate, or reaching beyond your emotions to act for their good? What kind of character and maturity growth does it take to love your enemies? Jesus said God makes it rain on the just and the unjust alike. How can you become more like God in your willingness to bless anyone who needs it?
Too many Christians just ignore injustices like the one Pastor Burton suffered—as long as they don’t happen to them. Jesus rebuked very pious people in his day for carefully giving a tenth of even tiny herbs like mint “while neglecting justice and love for God” (Luke 11:42). In what ways each day, in regular or volunteer activities, could you bring about greater justice? Are you willing to consistently make justice a priority?
In his letter, Jeremiah told the Israelites (on God’s behalf): “When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me” (verse 13). In what ways was the quality of their connection with God essential to them being able to be good neighbors and live in trust even when in exile? What do you believe it would mean for you to seek God “with all your heart”? How might that reshape some of your ways of relating to others?
“Using the terms ‘widow’ and ‘fatherless’ together may have been a way of designating disadvantaged classes in general. Groups other than true widows and orphans easily might have fallen into this category.”* In virtually every nation and culture, those who are “weaker,” “outsiders” or “different” face prejudice because of ethnicity, poverty, lack of education or many other markers of “otherness.” When have you seen “disadvantaged” people ignored or treated with contempt? Has that ever happened to you? How can you make things better rather than worse when such ugly actions happen? How can you faithfully serve “the great, mighty, and awesome God who doesn’t play favorites”?
* HarperCollins Christian Publishing. NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture (Kindle Locations 46022-46023). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
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