Because this topic is often handled with a lack of delicacy we encourage you to consider thoughtfully whether it’s best for your group to discuss the sermon this week. A few reasons you might consider taking another path:
If you’re divided as a group over whether or not it’s a sin to engage in gay behavior. Our leadership is unanimously of the mind that God is clear on this point. If one or two of your group members disagree, that disagreement might be best addressed one on one. We don’t want members feeling ganged up on during group, and we worry one or two dissenters will almost certainly feel like that’s what’s happening. We want everyone to feel heard and loved.
If you have group members who are gay or are tempted by homosexual lust, and you worry (for good reason) that other members of your group won’t handle the topic with sensitivity. The last thing we want is to drive an unnecessary wedge between our members. (In this case, perhaps the best thing to do is to reach out before group with instruction and encouragement.)
If you think all you’ll do is talk about how other people act. We always want small group to be about personal transformation, not about pointing fingers.
If you’re concerned for any of the reasons above or for any other reason, we encourage you to skip discussion and spend this week in prayer. Pray for the men and women struggling with sexual temptation. Pray for their families, for them to feel loved, for the church to make them feel welcome. Pray whatever’s on your hearts.
You might also read a passage of scripture together and work through what it has to say to you personally. Consider Romans 1:18-32 and 2:1-4. What does this passage teach us about sin? What’s personally challenging?
Which part of Sunday’s lesson are you struggling most to embrace? Is it hard for you to embrace the idea of gay sex as sinful? Or is it hard for you to love gay people?
Practically speaking, what does it look like for you to stand against the sin of homosexuality and at the same time to love people who are gay? What do you do and what do you not do?
What practical examples do you have of people who have done this well? Where do you feel like you’ve gone wrong?
In your efforts to love people who’re gay what hurdles have you come up against? What are you trying to figure out how to do well?
On Sunday Justin shared five problems that keep us from calling same-sex sex a sin. Consider this list. Which ones are most likely to trip you up? Why is that? Are there any you need some unpacking on? Ask your group to help you understand.
1. We decide what we are and aren’t okay with God requiring and then make him fit in our box. (Or decide he doesn’t exist.)
2. We’ve made a god out of tolerance and (our definition) of love.
3. We think we are what we want.
4. We believe belonging requires indulgence.
5. We don’t trust God to lead us through a life of obedience (especially when that obedience requires denial, a change of lifestyle, etc)
We also shared four problems keeping us from properly loving gay men and women. Consider these, too. Which ones are you most likely to stumble over? Why is that? Are there any you need to talk through or ask questions about?
1. We elevate the sin of homosexuality above whatever ‘our’ sins are.
2. We’ve made a god out of marriage.
3. We feel as though kindness is endorsement.
4. We do a bad job living in community (so that if you’re not married or at least dating, you really are alone).
How might we address these problems as a community of faith and as individuals? What can we do, for example, to make intimate community more accessible for single people?
If your group is struggling to embrace homosexuality as sinful, you might read a few of the passages Justin mentioned on Sunday: I Corinthians 6:9-10 and I Timothy 1:8-11. What’s the bottom line in these passages?
If your group is struggling with love and empathy, read Romans 2:1-10 and Luke 7:36-50. What’s the bottom line in these passages? What do they teach us about sin and love?
So many people are hurting because of the way the world is framing the discussion around homosexuality. The devil is at work luring people away from God’s life-giving will. Would you pray about it? Pray for people you love who’re deceived. Pray for people you don’t know but love anyway. Pray for wisdom for yourselves.