What were your parents’ go to “consequences” when you misbehaved as a child? Share with the group. Did the doling out out of consequences ever go wrong somehow? Perhaps comically?
What kinds of consequences do you deal with as adult when (first person to yell out an answer gets a point. The person with the most points wins)…
- You don’t pay your bills?
- You drive too fast?
- You eat too much?
- You stay up too late?
- You ignore your text messages?
- You don’t brush your teeth?
- You forget to wash the makeup off your face before you go to bed?
- You forget to set an alarm?
- You leave your purse behind at the restaurant?
- You pack all wrong for your vacation?
- You try to lift too much weight at the gym?
- You promise your kids they can stay up late?
- You forget where you parked your car?
- You drop your phone in the toilet?
- You don’t mow the lawn?
- You let your kids skip school?
- You wear a costume to work on Halloween?
God promises forgiveness to His children. What does forgiveness look like? What does it feel like?
Have you ever felt like you weren’t really forgiven? If so, why do you think that is?
Have you ever done something wrong, been forgiven but still had to deal with the consequences?
- Were those consequences heavy or hard? What were they?
- Did they stay heavy or did they get lighter over time?
- How do you think God might have shaped you through those consequences?
- A good thing to do with the bulk of your time tonight would be to share your stories with one another. Remember, everyone makes bad choices. Everyone deals with consequences of one sort of another. Sharing will help us realize we’re not alone.
Have you ever been mad at God, resentful or bitter because He didn’t remove the consequences of your mistake? Explain how you felt and why you felt that way.
Though God doesn’t always take away our consequences He does always walk beside us as we bear them. How does God’s presence and love equip us to bear the burden of consequences?
On Sunday Justin said, “We seem to care a whole lot about the circumstances. God cares a whole lot about the relationship.” Have you ever found yourself hung up on circumstances? How did you get past it to build a stronger relationship with God?
Consider this sentence: “God is not hardly as averse to pain as we’ve become. He’s okay with using it when it’s the best tool to shape us.”
- How does that quote make you feel?
- Is it true?
- Give an example (from the Bible or experience) to prove or disprove your assertion.
Read Ezekiel 44:6-13
- What did the Israelites do wrong?
- What phrase does God use three times in this passage to describe the result of the Levites’ sin?
- How does it feel to “bear the consequences” of our sin?
- What do you learn from this one example of God interacting with His people?
Tonight you might pray a prayer of confession. Here’s one you could read together from Psalm 51, David’s appeal to God for forgiveness after his sin with Bathsheba:
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight
Cleanse me, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
Watch Myrka Dellanos’s story of consequences and peace in Christ (Myrka speaks Spanish; the video is subtitled):
What consequences has God not taken away for Myrka?
- What has He enabled for her anyway?