Loving People You Don't Like - Week 2

Speaking the Truth with Love

Week of January 16, 2022

Opening Prayer
God, each time we come together we seek to be open to you and each other. We invite your presence into our conversation. Make this time one of learning and encouragement. Help us to practice love, kindness, and generosity among people we do like, so we will be better prepared to do the same for people we don’t like. Amen.

Historical Context
This week we are looking at Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. Unlike a lot of Paul’s letters, this one does not address a specific conflict or issue within the local community. It is possible that this letter was sent to Ephesus first, but was intended to be circulated among multiple churches. Chapter 4 is part of the general instructions for creating unity within the community of faith. It can be easy to forget, but even the earliest Christians lived, worked, and worshiped with people who got on their nerves.

Read Aloud
“God’s purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God's goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. As a result, we aren't supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let's grow in every way into Christ,”

Ephesians 4:12-15, CEB

Engaging Scripture
  • Why do you think unity among God’s people is important to God?
  • What does spiritual maturity look like according to this passage?
  • How would you describe being “tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others,” in your own words?

Application Questions
When we seek to love the people we don’t like, we will usually face some difficult conversations. It can be easy to approach these situations armed with the hard truth of the matter. Or, we may be tempted to avoid addressing the problem all together in the name of love. In this week’s scripture we find a call to marry the two, truth and love, in our relationships.

  • What end of the spectrum do you most often operate from? Why?
Love but no truth
Truth but no love
  • What makes difficult truths easier for you to hear and receive?
  • Is there a situation in your life where you need to show love and speak the truth? How can this group support you as you approach this person, group, or situation?

Closing Prayer
God of mercy, we thank you that you are quick to forgive. As we think about our relationships with people we don’t like we remember some of our own bad behavior. We repent of our hard hearts, angry spirits, and unkind words. We ask for your help as we seek healing and work to repair those relationships. You have revealed the truth to us in love. Make us people who do the same for the people in our lives. We ask all of this in Jesus name, Amen.

Taking it Further
  • Whether you have Monday off from work or not, learn a little more about Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Pantsuit Politics - 5 Things You Need to Know About MLK Day

  • If We’re Honest by Francesca Battistelli

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