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Coming out of Sunday Nov 1’s teaching, “UNITED: Characteristics That Unite”, spend some time in prayerful reflection and dialogue with your Home Church/Friends/Family about these questions:

Read through Hebrews 12:14-15 and Matthew 5:9, 38-45 before starting. Pray and ask God to speak.

  1. What resonated most with you from Sunday’s message and/or the passages we just read regarding peacemaking? Why is that? How is God speaking to you?

  2. What is the difference between “peacekeeping” and “peacemaking”? Why do you think Jesus said that God blesses “peacemakers” instead of “peacekeepers”?
  3. How does knowing the Gospel lead us to live lives as peacemakers? (See Romans 5:8 and 2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
  4. Beyond the way they navigate interpersonal conflict, what are some examples of things that “peacemakers” do in our world to bring God’s peace/Shalom/wholeness to our broken world? Can you think of any good examples from the Scriptures?
  5. Jeff talked specifically about three things peacemakers do when navigating interpersonal conflict: 1. They Keep Short Accounts, 2. They Turn the Other Cheek, and 3. They Love Their Enemies.  Which of these three things do you personally find most challenging? Why?
  6. In Matthew 18:15, Jesus provided specific instruction around how we are to keep short accounts with others (“talk to, not about”). Colossians 3:13 also provides us with some important insight (“be quick to forgive”). What does “keeping short accounts” mean to you? How have you (or haven’t you) strived to apply this principle in your own life?
  7. In Matthew 5:38-42, Jesus taught about “turning the other cheek” and how we are to refuse to seek revenge and retaliation when wronged by others (avoiding violence of every kind whether physical, verbal or emotional). What makes this so challenging for us as human beings? How have you (or haven’t you) strived to apply this teaching in your own life?
  8. In Matthew 5:43-45, Jesus taught us to “love our enemies.” Which ‘category’ of enemy do you find the most difficult to love? Those who are different from you, those who have hurt you in the past, or those who are hurting you in the present? Why? Practically speaking, what do you think it looks like to ‘love’ your enemy?
  9. What is one action step you can take this week to live as a unity-building peacemaker? Spend some time in prayer together as a group, inviting the Holy Spirit to empower each person to live the Gospel out as peacemakers.
A potential next step everyone could take is to pray the prayer of Francis of Assisi each day this week:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
Where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.