Relationships are more important than who is right in any disagreement.
Whenever there is to a gathering—whether for a meeting, celebration or worship—the husband always wants to be early, even if just five minutes, while the wife prefers to be just on time, or from five to fifteen minutes late. This causes many arguments. What are some solutions?
In his most famous story, the Prodigal or the Lost Son, Jesus tells the parable about three family members, a man and his two sons. The younger son decided he knew all there was to learn at home. So he demanded from his father all that he was to inherit as an heir. He travelled to many countries, partied every night, enjoyed drinking, fast cars and chasing women. But when that money ran out, so did his so-called friends. He went from low-paying–job to job until he ended up slopping the hogs. This was about as low as a Jewish lad could go. Finally he came to his senses. He decided to go home to his father and apologize and say,
“Father, I am not worthy. I have sinned against God and you.”
He felt that he was not worthy to be a son but only one of his father’s hired help. But his father saw him from far off and ran to him. Then his father hugged and kissed him. There was a celebration that night for the lost son’s return. However, when the older son came home and found out that not only had his brother returned but that there was a celebration to boot, he became angry. The older brother refused to reconcile and declared that his sibling did not deserve to even live there.
Before beginning, either read the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) or read the synopsis in the introduction above.
Read Psalm 133:1,3.
1. Based on the relationship between the brothers in the Prodigal Son, how “good and pleasant” do you think their family was?
Read Malachi 4:6.
2. This was the last thing God spoke to Israel before going mute for 400 years. How important then would these “last words” be to God? How important are they to us in our families? How was the “silence” broken?
Read Acts 3:18-21.
3. How is this passage applicable to the parable of the lost son?
Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-11.
4. How important are relationships to our proper functioning as people and as believers?
Read Isaiah 58:12.
5. The verses above all speak to the importance of family and community (teamwork for life). The Holy Spirit through Isaiah mentions repairers of the breaches as critical to safety and growth of our places to do life. Are you a repairer of breaches or do you hinder the repair work through attitudes of unforgiveness?
Read Matthew 5:9.
6. In the Message translation we see the following: “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” Does this translation of “Blessed are the peacemakers” remind you of situations where this didn’t happen and the impacts that people suffered for the lack of cooperation?
Read Luke 15:16-17.
7. How do you feel when you are not in good relationship with God, your family or both? How did hunger work for the lost son? How can we be “hungry” today?
Read Luke 15: 18-19.
8. How are these verses a good example of what a sincere apology looks like?
Read Romans 12:18.
9. What are some things that we can do to live in peace when there seems to be only chaos?
Read Luke 15:20.
10. In the parable the father represents God and His mercy toward “lost children”, but how are we to be like the father when people who have injured us show repentance?