Study Guide: Tough to Love

Sunday November 16, 2014 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Learning how to love the people in our life that we find challenging to deal with is often very difficult. This week in Heart Smart we look at some biblical examples and instructions on how to do love our enemies in the same way we love our friends.

Extended Summary:

In week five of Heart Smart we discuss the difficult relationships in our lives. We all have people in our lives we find challenging to relate to. As Kingdom people, in all relationships we should be asking ourselves this question: “How can I best manifest the love of God to this person?” It is important for us to remember that all our life comes from Christ and this should be reflected in our difficult relationships as well. Kingdom people bring to relationships the overflowing of God’s love, rather than those of the world who do so out of selfish desires from a place of emptiness. This means we should have the other person’s well being in mind and not our own.

Another tool we can use in relating with difficult people is the act of examining ourselves. It is not our job to judge others, but we are called to look at our behaviors and seek to follow Christ during these times. We often only think of ourselves when we take the world into account. The problem with this individualistic point of view is that when we come into relationship with one another we are actually creating a whole other reality that we must take into account. Often in the Bible we find that God speaks to multiple people as though they were one. Therefore in our own relationships we must account for the other with as much weight as we do ourselves and see things from their perspective.

It is also important to set boundaries in relationships. We set boundaries, not simply for the benefit of ourselves, but for the benefit of the other. In all these things remember that it is not what we do when we are handing out with friends that matters, but what we do when we are hanging out with enemies which is truly capable of shining the light of Christ to others.

Reflection Questions:

Greg Boyd’s Discussion Intro

  1. Share your overall reaction to the sermon. Describe some of the take-aways for you.
  2. Discuss the people or relationships in your life that we consider to be difficult and explain why that is.
  3. Following Christ means putting others above ourselves, so in what ways could you benefit from the well being of the difficult people in your life, even if it means you will suffer or be inconvenienced?
  4. Try to see this relationship from the other person’s perspective and ask yourself in what ways you contribute to the difficult nature of the relationship.
  5. Where do you need to set boundaries in your life? Why do boundaries need to be set and how can you go about addressing the need for such?