Christians Loving People

Here are the questions we can expect on Sunday for the lesson on First Peter 3:8-22. I will follow up on July 11 with a lesson on “Suffering for Doing Good.”

REFLECTION
Describe a time when someone demonstrated Christ’s love to you in a practical way.

BIBLE READING: Read 1 Peter 3:8–22.
(1 Peter 3:8-12 – To live a holy life requires Christian unity. The unity of believers results from right attitudes, indicated in 1 Peter 3:8. Peter then quotes from Psalm 34:12-16 to remind the readers that God favors right conduct).

DISCOVERY

  1. How should we treat each other? (1 Peter 3:8-9 – about eight characteristics are listed, notice the parallel with the words of Jesus in Luke 6:27-28)
  2. When is it most difficult to demonstrate a loving attitude toward others? (There could be many angles to this discussion: when you have been hurt, when the person is difficult, when you are sick, when the person is an enemy, when you are bitter, etc. You may want to continue the discussion until you have covered as many angles as possible).
  3. Describe the kind of person who enjoys life and pleases God. (If this question makes you think of someone you’ve known, you may want to open the discussion by telling about that person or telling about an incident you experienced with them).
  4. Why is it better to suffer for doing good than for doing wrong? (we should expect to suffer if we do wrong, but those who suffer for righteousness or doing good, they are blessed by God, 1 Peter 3:14, 17).
  5. What difference does Christ’s resurrection make in how we treat others? (Remember all he had gone through for our sake, so why is our momentary suffering anything in comparison? We can stand tall in suffering knowing we will be raised at the right time).

INSPIRATION
Here is an uplifting thought from The Inspirational Study Bible.

In our house we call 5:00 p.m. the piranha hour. That’s the time of day when everyone wants a piece of Mom. Sara, the baby, is hungry. Andrea wants Mom to read her a book. Jenna wants help with her homework. And I—the ever-loving, ever-sensitive husband—want Denalyn to drop everything and talk to me about my day.

When is your piranha hour? When do people in your world demand much and offer little?

Every boss has had a day in which the requests outnumber the results. There’s not a businessperson alive who hasn’t groaned as an armada of assignments docks at his or her desk. For the teacher, the piranha hour often begins when the first student enters and ends when the last student leaves.

Piranha hours: parents have them, bosses endure them, secretaries dread them, teachers are besieged by them, and Jesus taught us how to live through them successfully.

When hands extended and voices demanded, Jesus responded with love. He did so because the code within him disarmed the alarm. The code is worth noting: “People are precious.”

(From In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado)

RESPONSE

  1. When is your “piranha hour”? (You may want to also include in this discussion what it feels like when everyone wants a piece of you. What are some typical stress reactions for your group members?)
  2. How can we find the strength to love people, even when they have nothing to give in return? Consider what angle 1 John 4:19 puts on this discussion (we love because he first loved us), or 1 John 3:16 (we know love by this, that he laid down his life for us, we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren).
  3. In what way can you remind yourself of Christ’s example the next time you feel overwhelmed by the demands of others? (Scripture memory, visualization of the cross, remember your own sinfulness and the fact of Christ’s suffering…).

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS

  1. What kinds of issues create tension and conflict between believers?
  2. What practical steps can we take to promote harmony in the Body of Christ?
  3. What does it mean to work for peace?

For more Bible passages on loving people, see Matthew 5:43–48; 22:38–40; John 13:34–35; Romans 12:9–10; 1 Corinthians 13:1–13; Galatians 5:13–14; Colossians 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:9–10; Hebrews 10:24; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 16–18; 4:7–21; 2 John 5–6.

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