Luke 24:18-31, 36-45; Matthew 16:21-28
General Group Questions:
- We live in a polarized world where just getting along seems to be the goal rather than stepping in to “hard conversations”. What is the value of working at hard conversations that you see?
- In the sermon Andrew noted that the ability to have “hard conversations” is deeply connected to the strength of the relationship. In your experience, what barriers do you find to having “hard conversations”?
- One challenge in “hard conversations” is determining what the outcome of the conversation is to be. For example, if I want to change someone’s mind or bring them to my side of an argument. That might not be possible in a single conversations – and my intent may make them defensive adding to the difficulty of the conversation.
A model that I (Neal) have found helpful is My Story, Your Story, Our Story.
- My story means I need to understand what is driving my thoughts and feelings. By understanding and owning them I am less likely to get lost in them in the conversation. When I am lost in my own thoughts and feelings, I cannot listen to anyone else’s story and relationship will not flourish.
- Your Story is me listening and being sincerely interested in what is behind the other person’s views and feelings. Curiosity and empathy are essential to learn the others story. This is not feeling them out for weaknesses to attack, but simply being an active listener and seeking to identify emotions, structures of thought and experiences that help make sense of where they are coming from.
- Our Story is the desired outcome of a healthy living relationship – not a change of views or opinions. In our story, we may still disagree but it is a part of a shared journey together. The disagreement may not go away in the short term, but the health of the relationship means that we can deepen our sharing about even the things we struggle with and hopefully through prayer, and effort create new possibly for agreement.
Small Group Questions:
- Is there a person you need to have a “hard conversation” with that you have been avoiding? What are the barriers you see to that conversation?
Pray together as a small group about these conversations that need to be had and the things that are preventing us from engaging.