The Tough Reality – Everyone struggles, and every person has at some point felt lonely.
Key Concept #1 – We should be eager to help
- Family needs to work together to help one another when we struggle
- Fallen members of our church family or regular family should be neither neglected nor rejected; they need to be restored
- Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you’re better than everyone else
- In the hard times, we need to look for ways to lift our family up, not for ways to put them down
Key Concept #2 – We should be honest about ourselves
- We cannot help others work through the messes in their lives if we are unwilling to acknowledge that we are also a mess
- Paul’s point is that when we think we’re better than everyone else, we are deceiving ourselves
Key Concept #3 – We should carry our own load
- We need the wisdom to know when to ask for help and when to just try harder
- The challenge is knowing when to let someone work through what they are going through and when we should step in and help
TALK IT OUT
- Why do you feel that loneliness was such a major problem even before the coronavirus disrupted our lives? Why do you think so many people are lonely?
- How does family help to prevent loneliness? Why does family not keep people from being lonely all the time? Why do churches and families sometimes hesitate to restore people when they have fallen? Based upon this passage, how do you think Jesus wants us to respond when others make a mess of their lives?
- Why do you suppose Paul tells us to gently restore those who have fallen? Do you think we usually do a good job or this or not?
- Why do you think we tend to focus on others and where they fail rather than we do on the ways we let God down? Why do you think Paul makes a big deal out of this?
- Do you think you usually do a good job of helping your family or friends when they are going through a hard time? If not, what steps might help you do better in the future?
- Why do you think scripture puts so an emphasis on us being honest about our own struggles instead of on us focusing on others and the areas they let us down?
- Each of us are most responsible for being the person God wants us to be, not for making sure others are the person God wants them to be. This applies to our friends and to our family. What are some safeguards you need to put in your life to help you remember this
important truth in the future?
- How different is our attitude from the one that Jesus’ demonstrated in Philippians 2:3-5?
- We need the wisdom to know when to ask for help and when to just try harder. Which of these two is more difficult for you?
- The challenge is knowing when to let someone work through what they are going through and when we should step in and help. Why is wisdom so important in knowing what to do in the previous statement?
LIVE IT OUT
Make a list of family and friends who are going through difficult times right now.
Write down a couple of ways you are going to attempt to help each of them deal with the crisis they are facing right now.