DISCOVERY QUESTIONS

Series: I Have Decided…
Sermon: To Be a Peacemaker
Passage: Romans 12:16-21

Main Idea: Practicing Peacemaking.

Leader GuidePDF Version (Participant)PDF Version (Leader)

GROUP DISCUSSION

Lean In

Purpose: Introduce topic and get the group talking.

1. Describe a time as a parent when you tried to bring peace and harmony to your home and it didn’t go well? If you aren’t a parent, can you think of a time as a child when your parents tried to bring peace and harmony in your home and it didn’t go well?


Look Down

Purpose: Observe the passage and interact with the text

2. Read Romans 12:16-21 together with your group. Describe all the ways that Paul encourages the church in Rome to respond to wrongdoers in their lives.

3. As you look at the passage, how do you understand the phrase “heap burning coals on his head”? Feel free to google it.


Look Out

Purpose: Connect observations in God’s Word with observations in our world today.

4. The painting below, by Don Stivers, is entitled “An Act of Compassion.” During this Civil War scene, not a shot was fired for over 90 minutes when Sergeant Richard Rowland Kirkland leapt the wall at Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg, VA to provide a moment of relief from the savagery of war to his fallen enemies. What stirs in you as you look at this piece of art?

Image

5. Where have you recently seen discord in the world? In the Church? Where have you seen examples of “overcoming evil with good?”


Look In

Purpose: Internalize God’s Word and apply the truth to your personal life.

6. Is there a situation in your life right now where you are experiencing conflict or discord, particularly with someone who has done wrong to you? What are your gut reactions in this situation or toward this person?


Live It Out

Purpose: Spend time listening for God’s for direction and guidance as you seek to live out the truths of this passage in your everyday life.

7. As you think about the situation or the person from Question 5, ask God how you might respond in peace, overcoming evil with good? Spend some time listening to the song below as you pray and consider this question.

Defender

8. Share your experience in prayer with the group. How did God meet you? What clarity, if any, did God offer you about how to respond in peace, overcoming evil with good?

LEADER GUIDE

Lean In

Purpose: Introduce topic and get the group talking.

1. Describe a time as a parent when you tried to bring peace and harmony to your home and it didn’t go well? If you aren’t a parent, can you think of a time as a child when your parents tried to bring peace and harmony in your home and it didn’t go well?

This question is designed to be a fun and light conversation starter.


Look Down

Purpose: Observe the passage and interact with the text

2. Read Romans 12:16-21 together with your group. Describe all the ways that Paul encourages the church in Rome to respond to wrongdoers in their lives.

Live in harmony with one another
Do not repay evil for evil
Do what is right in the eyes of everyone
Live at peace with everyone (as far as it depends on you)
Do not take revenge
Feed hungry enemies
Give a drink to thirsty enemies
Overcome evil with good

Reference from Deut. 32:35 (“It is mine to avenge; I will repay”) – the context indicates that the Lord will intervene to vindicate his people when their enemies abuse them and gloat over them. That said, Paul is not suggesting that God’s wrath will immediately come upon the wrongdoer. Rather, the hope is that the Christian’s refusal to retaliate will bring the wrongdoer to a place of conviction of sin and a change of heart.

Jesus calls his followers to this same Kingdom ethic of non-retaliation (Matt. 5:44, Luke, 6:27-28). But not only that, Jesus and Paul both call believers to do good to all people, even in the face of persecution, ridicule, and evil intent.

3. As you look at the passage, how do you understand the phrase “heap burning coals on his head”? Feel free to google it.

It’s good to wrestle together with passages like this. Encourage the group to research and think critically.

There is some variety of interpretation on this phrase from many respected scholars. That said, most modern scholars believe that Paul is urging us to show kindness to our enemies with the hope that they will experience the shamefulness of their actions, repent, and begin to seek the reason why we can respond with such love.


Look Out

Purpose: Connect observations in God’s Word with observations in our world today.

4. The painting below, by Don Stivers, is entitled “An Act of Compassion.” During this Civil War scene, not a shot was fired for over 90 minutes when Sergeant Richard Rowland Kirkland leapt the wall at Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg, VA to provide a moment of relief from the savagery of war to his fallen enemies. What stirs in you as you look at this piece of art?

Image

One thing to note here is that there was never a guarantee of safety for the compassionate soldier. The enemy could have easily taken advantage of his defenselessness. Safety, though, is not the point. Compassion and love are the point, even if taken advantage of or not received.

After discussing, you may share find it helpful to share another example of this teaching lived out:

A Christian in the military prayed on his knees and was consistently ridiculed and made fun of. One night, while praying, another soldier threw his shoes at him. The Christian said nothing, but simply laid the shoes beside, and continued praying. The next morning, the soldier woke to find his boots beside his bed, shiny and polished. This melted him. He asked why. The Christian took this opportunity to share his faith, and it led to the soldier’s conversion. This is overcoming evil with good.

5. Where have you recently seen discord in the world? In the Church? Where have you seen examples of “overcoming evil with good?”

There are many examples here. Try to focus on personal examples. Please avoid getting caught up in taking sides, and simply point out the discord. This is not a time to argue. Help direct the group to stay focused.


Look In

Purpose: Internalize God’s Word and apply the truth to your personal life.

6. Is there a situation in your life right now where you are experiencing conflict or discord, particularly with someone who has done wrong to you? What are your gut reactions in this situation or toward this person?


Live It Out

Purpose: Spend time listening for God’s direction and guidance as you seek to live out the truths of this passage in your everyday life.

7. As you think about the situation or the person from Question 5, ask God how you might respond in peace, overcoming evil with good? Spend some time listening to the song below as you pray and consider this question.

Defender

The goal here is simply to allow God some space to reveal, uncover, guide, direct, and care for us. Do your best not to rush through this part.

8. Share your experience in prayer with the group. How did God meet you? What clarity, if any, did God offer you about how to respond in peace, overcoming evil with good?

Close in prayer for each other.