This week we’re talking about compassion. Compassion is “concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.” The thing about compassion is that you can’t have it unless you’re a person who NOTICES other people. Are you good at noticing other people or do you get too caught up in yourself? To test yourself, think back through your last conversation with another person. How many questions did you ask about them? How much did you talk about yourself?
Share with the group if you feel like you have room to grow. Think through some things you could do to be more aware of and interested in other people.
Heads up: This week’s discussion guide looks a lot like last week’s. Don’t worry; you haven’t got them mixed up.
Heads up #2: This entire series works well as an opportunity to let kids join the group discussion.
This week we were in Matthew 20: 29-34. To start small group this week we strongly encourage you to do a meditative reading of the text together (just like you did last week), encouraging members to use their imaginations and try to enter the story as if they were present.
Read the Gospel passage twice so that the story and the details of the story become familiar. Read it once, then read the questions below (#2), then read it a second time.
Close your eyes and reconstruct the scene in your imagination.
-What do you see? Hear? Smell? Feel?
-See what’s going on and watch the men and women in the scene.
-What does Jesus look like?
-How do the others react to him?
-What are the people saying to one another?
-What emotions fill their words?
-Is Jesus touching someone?
Explain to the group that they’re welcome to enter into the scene, perhaps as an observer, as as an apostle, as a Pharisee observing (whatever makes sense).
You can construct a movie-like scenario or simply enter the story verbally, reflecting on the scene and mulling over the actions. Vividness is not a criteria for the effectiveness of this kind of meditation. Engagement is and the result is a more interior knowledge of Jesus.)
When you’ve given the group time to do this, come back together to discuss what you saw, felt and understood. (If you decided for some reason not to do this activity, still read the passage together and discuss whatever’s interesting to you. What sticks out as powerful, tender, special or confusing?)
After your time in meditative reading, consider the bottom line from our message Sunday:
Jesus is moved with compassion.
- Does this trait of Jesus’ affect the way you feel about him? How so?
- Can you think of other times in the Bible Jesus is compassionate? Make a list of at least five examples.
- Has Jesus been compassionate to you? What does that look like?
- What does it look like for us to imitate Jesus’ compassion? Give several examples of action inspired by compassion.
- Can compassion exist without action? Why or why not?
Consider the following quote from John Holmes:
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
Do you think this is a good definition of compassion?
When have you witnessed someone reaching down and lifting another person up? Share a story.
What gets in the way of you feeling compassion for other people?
Tonight ask God to give you hearts easily moved by compassion, ask for eyes to see the people who’re in need of compassion and hands eager to serve in compassion.
After you pray, share someone in your life who’s calling out in need of your compassion, and ask the group to hold you accountable in responding to their need.
In case your group isn’t familiar, Compassion International is an amazing organization “reaching down and lifting people up.” Compassion pairs one poor child in a developing nation with a financially blessed supporting family. You pay a small amount per month and correspond with the child via letters and emails. The money you pay provides for your child’s unmet physical needs and their instruction in a local Bible school. Watch this video together to see if you might be interested in partnering with them to help lead the developing world toward Christ and out of poverty.
Make a pitch for ShareFest! Let your group members know what it’s like, and encourage them to sign up to help. You might even make time for people to sign up on their phones during group.