One: Finding Unity in a Divided World - Week 3 Discussion Guide

CoreGroup Guide | ONE: Finding Unity in a Divided World - Week 3
Guide written by Dan Hutti


This sermon series has focused on the concept of unity, which Pastor Matt defined as “maintaining a posture of love across difference.” This week we are discussing how to deal with division. What do we do in the face of division? Are our divisions more important than our relationships? In some cases, the answer may be yes and in some cases no. Let’s start the discussion.

Opening Prayer

Dear Lord, thank you for bringing this diverse group of people together. We are brought here together for one common purpose and that is to know you better. Please be with us during this discussion and help us to treat each other with gentleness, patience and compassion. It’s in your name we pray. Amen.

Ice Breaker

This week’s sermon is all about divisions. One area of division that shows up a lot in this country is sports. Is there a rival team in sports that you simply cannot support? How do you feel about the Mets? Can Cardinals and Cubs fans actually be best friends? 

The Head

In the sermon, Pastor Matt mentioned several methods for dealing with division: accommodate, avoid, compete, collaborate, and compromise.
  • Which one of these methods is your default, and why? 
  • Share an example of a time you used one of these methods to deal with a conflict.
  • What are some examples in the Bible when these methods are on display? This can be through Jesus or other important figures in the Bible.

Matt shared several instances where Jesus spoke to one of these five methods. For example, this is Matthew 10.12-14:

12 When you go into a house, say, ‘Peace!’ 13 If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if the house isn’t worthy, take back your blessing. 14 If anyone refuses to welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet as you leave that house or city.
This passage is connected to the topic of avoidance. We avoid conflict when we decide the relationship isn’t healthy and the disagreement cannot be fixed or resolved.

  • What jumps out to you in this passage?
  • How can you tell if a relationship is worthy?
  • Do you recall any stories in the Bible in which Jesus modeled avoidance in this way?

Another example is compromise. Sometimes we realize that it is not possible for a situation to be perfect, but it can still be good! We compromise the perfect to get to the good. Let’s look at the following passage:

Matthew 22.17-21
17 So tell us what you think: Does the Law allow people to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 18 Knowing their evil motives, Jesus replied, “Why do you test me, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used to pay the tax.” And they brought him a denarion. 20 “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked. 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

  • In verse 17, what decision do the Pharisees ask Jesus to make?
  • Why would this have been a tricky decision to make? 
  • Who might be upset by Jesus saying it’s okay to pay taxes to Caesar? 
  • Who might be upset if Jesus said it’s not okay?
  • How does Jesus demonstrate compromise in this passage?
  • In what ways is this passage relatable to your own life today?

The Heart

Throughout this week’s discussion we are asked to weigh the importance of our relationships against the importance of our conflicts. 
When dealing with division, we are taught that sometimes the conflict or difference is not worth as much as the relationship. In these circumstances, we may need to accommodate for the sake of the relationship.
  • What does accommodation look like for you in your own valuable relationships?
  • In what ways did you demonstrate this method this week with people who are closest to you?
  • Did you feel that anyone was accommodating with you as well? How so?

On the other hand, sometimes the stakes are so high that we must speak up, confront, or even compete for what is true and right, even if it risks our relationship with the other.
  • What are some examples of times when the stakes are high? So high that you feel you must speak out, at the risk of ending your relationship with someone. Please share as you feel comfortable.
  • Are any topics “deal-breakers” for you when it comes to relationships? For a light hearted example, you might think, “I could never be associated with someone who roots for the Cubs. Deal-breaker.” What are your deal-breakers?
  • How does it feel for you to risk a relationship for the sake of a deal-breaker?
  • How do you know if something actually is a deal-breaker? 
  • How do you discern God’s guidance in these situations? 
  • What other forms of guidance do you rely on (e.g. feelings of anger, a sense of injustice, opinions of others, the media)?

The Hands

The methods for dealing with division included accommodation, avoidance, competition, collaboration and compromise.
  • This week, think about one of your most valuable relationships. Are any conflicts getting in the way of that relationship? Take an inventory. It can just be in your head or feel free to write it down. 
  • After doing that, consider how a posture of love can lead you to greater unity with that valuable relationship of yours. 
  • Which of the methods listed above might you use with this relationship?
  • Share back with the group next week.

Closing Prayer

Dear Lord, thank you for this time together every week. Thank you for the people in this group and their different opinions and perspectives. Thank you for creating them in your image. Please be with us this week and help us maintain a posture of love with others, and with ourselves. Amen.

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