Caring for One Another: Session 9 (Fall 2020)
Session 9 – Small Group Study Guide
Lesson 7 – Talk About Sin
Because the topic of sin is sensitive and incredibly personal, please note that while some of the questions require you to think and answer personally, that is for your own personal edification and growth.
If you’re comfortable and if appropriate (i.e., men-to-men, women-to-women), you are welcomed to share – but please do not feel pressured to, and certainly don’t disclose personal information about others. We aim to build a community where confession and speaking of sin is the norm and inviting – but we want to do that with care and thoughtfulness and in an environment of Christ-like love by guarding and honoring your confidences and the confidences of others. So we encourage you to be thoughtful of others and “let all that you do be done in love” (1 Cor 16:14) guide how you share.
PART I: Welch reminds us on p. 59 that although suffering often feels like the most pressing problem, struggles with sin are even more important. Because of this, it is a grace to see our sin. “When we see sin, we are close to the light. Only when we don’t see our sin should we be suspicious of our hearts” (61 – cf. 1 John 1:8). So we aim at cultivating a culture in which it is “increasingly natural to talk about sin and ask each other for help” (61).
- As a way of personal reflection, identify one sin that you are uniquely struggling with during this season of COVID-19. Have you been able to confess that to others in an appropriate way? If so, how has that deepened your relationship with others and helped your walk with Christ? If not, why? See Appendix 1.
- We’ve all likely had people who have spoken to our sin. In order to encourage you to grow in speaking thoughtfully and encouragingly to others, can you think of a time when someone spoke to you about your sin in a way that was helpful and encouraging? Why was it helpful and encouraging?
PART II: On pp. 62-65 Welch gives us some thoughtful ways to speak about sin: (1) Say something and be honest; (2) Use “we” language more than “you;” (3) Use questions more than exhortations; (4) Confess our sin because it is personally about God; (5) End confessions with “Thank you.” Consider the people you identified in “Lesson 2: Move toward Others” that you wanted to move toward during this small group study. Write their names below and then proceed with the rest of the questions:
|Person #1||Person #2|
- As you consider the sins that have been brought up especially during this season of COVID-19 we want to be thoughtful as to how it was brought up to us (Was it confessed? Do we see it? Are we told about it? – p. 61). How would that color your response and how could you bring it up in an honest way that is specific, thoughtful, and yet shows humility, gentleness, patience, and the desire to bear with one another in love (Eph 4:2)? Write it out.
- How might you use “we” language instead of “you” when engaging with that brother or sister? For example, perhaps initiating a process of change that involves both of you, or sharing that while you don’t understand fully the nature of the sin – you are still committed to being right next to him or her, or even sharing how you too struggle with the variant of that sin especially in this season. Write it out. See Appendix 2.
- We want to ask more than exhort because by doing so, we are inviting others to think about their sin with close inspection, and at the same time are inviting others to converse. This is how Jesus engaged with the woman at the well (John 4). So what questions would you ask to help the person engage with their sin in a thoughtful way that seeks to honor Christ? Write out some questions. If you are stuck, think about the ways that you might relate in your struggle with these sins. What questions would you ask yourself or what questions have been helpful?
- Our hope is ultimately that we see our sins in light of God. To that end, we want to help them confess personally to God. How might you help that person to identify their sin as personal to God, but also to help them confess their sin to God? What passages would you help connect their sin to? But in the midst of this, we don’t want to forget that God is gracious and kind. So what truths about God can we help them to see so that you can help them to be thankful for His grace? Write that down.
Remember, the purpose in writing this down is not to have a script or a response in your back pocket. But it’s to practice speaking about sin in a way that is hopeful, grace-filled and Christ-exalting as we seek to help others.
Sharing and Prayer
- Looking back, in what ways were you able to apply what you learned in the previous lesson this past week?
- Think of the 1-2 people you want to focus on caring for and moving toward during the rest of this small group season. Looking ahead, what are some ways that you would like to continue to apply what you just learned in this session to your own life as you seek to grow in caring for one another during this season of COVID-19?
- Share other prayer requests: