Community Group Questions - 6/1/14

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Sermon Title: Keep The Peace, Part 3: When to Wield Truth

Main Texts: Matthew 7:1-6

 

Topics

  • In Matthew 7:6, Jesus shared a metaphor that is so famous it is still used today, “Do not throw pearls before swine.” The full phrase is, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” But what does Jesus mean by this metaphor? Who does Jesus mean by pigs and dogs? And what does he mean by pearls and things that are sacred?
  • The surrounding context helps us to understand this saying. Jesus has been talking about conflict. He has told us to not be judgmental. He has told us to not be hypocritical. Now he is telling us to not be oblivious either. But he adds this metaphor so that we know that He is not saying that we should not be discerning. Being wise and discerning is not the same thing as being judgmental.
  • He has told us how to navigate through “taking the speck out of our brother’s eye.” But now He tells us that there are some times that we don’t bother.
  • What is the pearl he is talking about? The pearl, or “what is holy,” is truth. It is a great treasure when someone reveals the truth to us. But there are some people who it is wasted on. Worse still, there are some people who will use that as an opportunity to attack the person.
  • A pearl would be completely wasted on a pig. They would just stomp it down into the mud. Some people handle difficult truth like that. Sometimes they try to twist the truth into a way they can use it.  Other times people will spend the entire time truth is being told to them trying to poke holes in it. Jesus says for those who intentionally are trying to trample truth, the truth is wasted on them.
  • Imagine a rabid dog. It is dangerous to try to give them food. As you get close to them, they may attack you. Some people are like that too. They intentionally try to attack people when they get close to them. Jesus says trying to share truth with them, is dangerous.
  • We should be discerning about the people who are intentionally trying to trample truth or who are intentionally trying to hurt us. Here are some examples:
    1. A TRAP: someone doesn’t really want the truth they just want to get you into an uncomfortable or incriminating conversation
    2. Bad TIMING: the conversation gets so emotional, that truth is no longer productive. Or the argument gets so competitive that everyone is trying to win more than get down to the truth.
    3. We’ve TRIED: we’ve genuinely tried to have a productive reconciliatory conversation, but we are at an impasse.
    4. They’re TREACHOROUS: there are certain people that truly will try to abuse, hurt or manipulate us, if we try to speak truth to them.
  • Most of the time we avoid conflict because it is uncomfortable. Sometimes we inadvertently trample truth or hurt each other. Conflict is going to require us to get a little muddy and maybe get bitten. We shouldn’t avoid all conflict. Just those who we know are going to intentionally do it.
  • And when it comes to fellow Christians, we should always give them the benefit of the doubt and try. Because there is an x-factor that changes everything. With the Christian, the Holy Spirit is operating inside. We can never underestimate how He will use the truth in someone’s life.
  • There is one more important question each of us must ask as we interact with this teaching of Jesus’: Am I a pig or a dog?

 

Key Questions:

  1. HIGH/LOW: What was the high point of your week and the low point?
  2. ICEBREAKER: What scares you more facing a wild pig or a wild dog?
  3. READ: Matthew 7:6
  4. Why do you think Jesus chose the imagery he did?
  5. When have you seen this play out in real life?
  6. READ: Matthew 7:1-2
  7. How does verse 6 balance out verses 1-2?
  8. What would it look like to be extreme in either direction?
  9. What holds us back from having tough conversations with people we are in conflict with?
  10. How do we know the difference between just avoiding conflict because it is uncomfortable vs. because it is wise?
  11. What makes hearing criticism so difficult?
  12. What would be indicators that we may be a “dog” or a “pig,” that ignores uncomfortable truth?
  13. Does anyone have a conflict they are going through right now that we can be praying for?

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