1. Open with prayer. (2-5 min)
2. Read Matthew 5:38-48.
3. Discuss these questions with your group. (20-45 min)
MY STORY | Starting Place
What’s your anger style?
- A. Slow Simmer
- B. Short Fuse
- C. Passive Aggressive
- D. Assertive
Give us some examples of when your anger was provoked, and what happened.
DIGGING DEEPER | Practical Biblical Application
You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. (Matthew 5:38-41)
What do you think Jesus is trying to cultivate in his people through this teaching? (compassion? grace? perseverance? resilience?) Explain.
What is the difference between retaliation and justice?
How many times would you allow someone to slap you on the cheek, (literally or figuratively) before you said “enough”?
Where do you draw the line when responding to what Jesus describes above and a pattern of abusive behavior?
How does Jesus’ teaching here keep us from becoming just like the hostile person who is challenging us?
How can this be carried out and not simply become a victim to the abuses of people around you?
GROWING TOGETHER | Spiritual Friendship
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)
Where do you draw the line between letting something go, and holding someone legitimately accountable?
How does Jesus’ admonition of non-retaliation here lay the foundation for healthy responses to hostile behavior? Are there “rules” or guidelines you would give to your kids or loved ones on living this out in real time?
MOVING OUTWARD | Faith in Action
Identify typical situations that provoke your anger. Decide ahead of time how you’re going to respond in those situations with kindness & respect (while maintaining healthy boundaries).
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