Life Group Discussion Questions
January 27, 2019
The discipline of confession brings an end to pretense. God is calling into being a Church that can openly confess its frail humanity and know the forgiving and empowering graces of Christ. Honesty leads to confession, and confession leads to change. May God give grace to the church once again to recover the discipline of confession.
– Richard Foster
Leaders Note: This week has the potential to provide a powerful and impactful moment in one’s spiritual life, for the good or bad. Our hearts must be tender, our ears must be open, and our lips slow to speak. In all, we remember that because of Christ, there is nothing too far for God to forgive. If the moment leads to someone confessing something of large proportions, here are some ways to receive the confession and how to respond:
- Once an individual has boldly taken the step to confess something, begin praying for them inwardly.
- Don’t minimize or sweep under the rug. Sometimes God intends us to feel the weight, and even experience consequences because of our actions and sins. We often use humor to lighten the mood and make things more comfortable for us and others, but now is not that time.
- Don’t try and pry out more information than needed. Either the individual is uncertain on how to communicate, or they are holding back for lack of comfort or self-preservation. It is sometimes best to allow the Spirit to do His work over time. This includes trying to fix them.
- Remind them of the forgiveness of Jesus. This is precisely why Christ came and went to the cross, to cover that sin. 1 John 1:9 tells us if we confess, God is faithful to forgive. He always has and always will.
- Depending on the severity, it may best to pull in one of our pastors to help.
These may be helpful to pass onto others within your group as more private discussions take place throughout the week.
While we spend time examining confession this week, remember that the goal in confession is ultimately to lead one to repentance (a change in attitude and behavior) and reconciliation (restoring of the broken relationship between individuals, God, and one another).
Confession stops us from hiding from the truth that our behavior has implications. Secondly, it breaks the buildup of shame within which happens when we hide our mistakes and keep them to ourselves. The fear of rejection gets shattered when we sit in front of someone and get to hear the sweet words, “You are forgiven.”
Read & Discuss – Psalm 139:23-24 – “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Q: Do you feel free and at ease to recite a similar type prayer towards God?
Q: Why is admitting our sins, failures and faults so difficult?
Q: How/when do you find yourself hiding from God? What would it look like to live more open before God?
Read & Discuss – Psalm 32 or Psalm 51
Q: How would you define repentance? Do you think most people in our community think much about repentance?
Q: How do you know if repentance is real? What does genuine repentance look like?
Q: Depending on the Psalm you chose to read as a group, the contents and language may vary, but the construction of the Psalm is similar. (1) David starts with acknowledging the wrong committed, (2) turns from that sin, (3) receives forgiveness, and then ends with (4) praising God for that forgiveness. In these four actions, which one comes easiest for you? Which one takes the most work?
Read & Discuss – 1 John 1:9
Q: We often spend time focusing on the first part of this verse (If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins), yet John says more, what do you think he is saying when he includes: “and purify us from all unrighteousness“?
Hint: This passage comes during John’s instructions to walk in the light. Confession is a part of the process in which God uses to make us more into the image and likeness of Christ.
Self-Reflection / Application
Q: Is there anyone you need to seek forgiveness from?
Q: Is there anyone that you need to forgive based on how much God has forgiven you of in Christ?
Q: If you answered yes to either of those questions…what are your next steps?
Pastor of Spiritual Formation
Summit View Church
(360) 260-8300 ext. 1520