When Relationships Collide, Session 6: Intro Option for Women

dysfunction

 There’s no such thing as a normal family, however some families have greater challenges. Put a family in close quarters or in a stressful situation and the level of dysfunction skyrockets. Discuss how families can escalate from a normal family to a dysfunctional family.

Continue to The Point on page 124 of the personal study guide. Consider using these substitutions

  • Question #2: How have you seen favoritism like Jacob showed Joseph lead to conflict?
  • Question #3: How did the way you grow up influence who you are today?
  • Question #4: Where there is dysfunction, there is conflict. Conflict results in a need to forgive. How do you move from conflict to forgiveness?
  • Question #5: Hope is being able to see God at work no matter what the circumstances. How can you encourage others who are going through conflict to have hope in Christ being at work?

Continue through the Live It Out on page 130 of the personal study guide. Conclude by praying for women to be aware of God at work in the midst of conflict.

We want to hear from you! How are you introducing the topic of seeing God at work in the midst of conflict with the women in your class or small group?

DebphotoThe options for women for the When Relationships Collide unit were written by Deb Douglas, Minister to Women and Hope of First Baptist Bossier City, LA. Deb is a wife, mother, grandmother (call her Pearl!), writer, seamstress, and foodie! Follow her on twitter: @DrDebDouglas and her blog: pinkkudzu.wordpress.com

Comments

  1. Sherri Wooldridge says:

    Can I be honest about my struggle with the story of Joseph and it’s connection to the sub-topic in this lesson of forgiveness? In the end, Joseph comes from a position of power to offer forgiveness. Although not exclusively the experience of women, I absorb this section of scripture wondering how to apply it when I am in a position of weakness, and am told to just forgive an offender. Furthermore, Joseph is many years past the awful event. How do we offer forgiveness in the midst of conflict, while the abandonment or berating is going on? Did he forgive them as soon as they sent him off with the Ishmaelites?

    Jesus’s forgiveness model must be considered. He absorbed the reality of sin from our inability to fix our own brokenness, but the transaction of forgiveness/salvation is not complete until we as offenders ask for it in humility. To move from conflict to forgiveness requires we recognize our offender’s brokenness and need for restoration with Jesus even more than with us. When I see the other person in my conflict as needing Jesus (Christian or not), I can be compassionate, leading to a different way of interacting. That allows me to be willing to forgive, but if my offender never comes in humility, I cannot complete the transaction for that person. I can release them from my wrath or revenge by constantly offering the situation to my Lord to handle.

    Let’s not tell those in a weaker position to “just forgive” the other person, as if the Big Picture will turn out right if we do, like it did for Joseph. This is so simplistic and frustrating to hear when they are constantly experiencing family members in their lives who berate them, cheat on them, abandon them, and refuse to live the Christian life that they profess.

    What silver lining exists in the families where damage from an offender to their emotional, spiritual, and economic situation lasts for the rest of their lives? The silver lining to be cherished is that we are driven into His arms to get through it. Sometimes, that is the only way we learn to experience Him and become like Him.

    • James Jackson says:

      Hello Sherri– First off, thanks for sharing your thoughts so honestly and with such vulnerability. You are right that when you are the one in the position of power, it changes the dynamic of what it means to offer or receive forgiveness. My response as it relates to Session 6 of When Relationships Collide, though, is that the main idea of that session was not so much Joseph forgiving his brothers, but that God is at work behind the scenes in the midst of conflict. I think that lesson is true regardless of who is in the position to offer or receive forgiveness. And the truth is, God is still at work, whether or not the offended person ever offers forgiveness or whether or not the offender ever asks for it. In the story of Joseph, the Big Picture wasn’t that things turned out so well for Joseph; it’s that God used Joseph’s story, including his brothers’ treachery, to ensure the salvation and survival of His chosen people. We don’t find in the story of Joseph a mandate or expectation that we continue to endure an abusive situation in the name of “forgiveness.”

      If you are a small group leader, I hope you were able to work through these questions and issues with the people in your group. I personally would have loved to have been a part of that group. God bless you for the obvious care you put into the preparation process.

  2. Please continue to list all of the resources for a session in one place and to provide alternative questions. That helps a lot!

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