Date: February 6, 2022
The Pitfall of Injustice
The Point: Press forward in spite of injustice.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
Begin by sharing this news item:
Last September, the Guinness World Records 2022 book was released. Chris Nikic’s name is included in the book. Chris set a Guinness World Record when he became the first person with Down’s syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon.
For even the strongest, most fit athletes, completing an Ironman is a challenge. The Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run. These three events must be completed within a 17-hour period. Chris finished the grueling race in 16 hours 46 minutes 9 seconds, competing with the help of a guide.
Chris has faced health problems since birth, related to his Down’s syndrome diagnosis. He had open heart surgery at five months old. He did not learn to walk until he was almost four years old. He could not eat solid foods until he was six. All of these challenges slowed Chris’ development and growth. But as he grew, Chris learned to love competing in sports. For the Ironman, Chris trained hard, working eight hours a day, six days a week to be prepared.
Chris’ dad Nik, described his son’s hard work, saying, “Chris’s greatest achievement is not having done the IRONMAN® or some of the other achievements, it’s his tenacity to never quit. It’s his ability to stick with it every day. It’s his commitment to getting a little bit better every single day and not making any excuses. Not quitting.”
Say: Chris’ dad says his son’s greatest achievement is that he never quits. Then call attention to Question #1 (When have you seen someone simply refuse to quit?)) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Get Into the Study [Option from Adult (p. 119) and KJV Adult (p. 122) Leader Guides]
In advance, play a video clip showing someone simply refusing to quit. Then ask Question #1.
Study the Bible
Use the following information to introduce Question #3.
In 1994 Dontae Sharpe, a North Carolina resident, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of another man. Sharpe claimed he was innocent. Because of inconsistent testimony from a witness, no physical evidence connecting Sharpe to the crime, and new evidence from a pathologist, in 2019 Sharpe was exonerated and released from prison. Finally in November 2021, the North Carolina governor granted Sharpe a full pardon. “My family’s name has been cleared,” he said. “It’s a burden off of my shoulders and my family’s shoulders.” Lawyers, pastors, family members, and other supporters worked for years to gain Sharpe’s freedom. “No one is saying, or can say, he was released on a technicality,” said Theresa Newman one of Sharpe’s lawyers. “The technicality is that he was innocent.”
Sharpe says that he is dedicating the rest of his life to fixing America’s criminal justice system. He keeps his focus now on the people who are still wrongly imprisoned. “Our system is corrupt and it needs to change.”
Reflecting on his years behind bars, Sharpe said, “I made a conscious effort that prison wasn’t going to destroy me, that I was going to grow up inside the right way and not like a convict. I grew up in there. It changed my view of the world, helped me learn how to sacrifice and hold on to your principles. To fight and not give up.”
Today Swain works at Forward Justice, a nonpartisan law, policy and strategy center with a goal of advancing racial, social, and economic justice in the U.S. South.
Say: Dontae Sharpe was unfairly imprisoned for years. His focus today is on helping others who might be facing the same fate of unfair imprisonment. Then call attention to Question #3 (What are some appropriate ways to respond when we’ve been treated unfairly?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
— Donna McKinney wrote these Leader Extras. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
- What kinds of situations tempt us to say, “That’s not fair”?
- When have you seen perseverance pay off?
- What keeps you from quitting when you find yourself in a difficult situation?
- When have you felt God’s presence in a challenging season of life? How did that affect the way you dealt with that situation?
- What kinds of injustices do you see in your community today?
- Where do you see opportunities today to do good in the face of injustice?
- How can times of injustice be an opportunity to point others to God?
- How do you typically interact with others when you’ve been treated unfairly?
- What can we learn from Joesph about making the most of our work?
- How can we encourage each other in times of waiting?
- What repeated themes do you see as you study Joseph’s life?
- What truths from God’s Word can help us when we feel like God or other people have forgotten all about us?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Enduring Life’s Challenges With the Right Frame of Mind
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.
Podcast (adultsleadertraining): Play in new window | Download
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Tim Jackson says
I really enjoy the EXTRA thoughts each week as I prepare to teach the lesson, they give great examples for the lesson that week. I noticed this week that in the section which mentioned the young man, Chris, that it says he didn’t learn to walk until he was 4 months old. Did you mean 4 years old?
Brian Gass says
I think you’re right. Thanks for the catch. We’ll make that change!
Debbie Martinez says
Thank you for rich additions to each week’s lessons. I enjoy diving in to your pages early in the week and then, again, in my quiet time early on Sunday morning. Our class is focusing on Joseph’s trust in God and respect for his plans for him. In this week’s lesson, I suddenly realized that God kept Joseph in prison after the dreamers had been released in order that he be available to be found when Pharoah had need of him, and Joseph was both willing and available, not angry and embittered. May we learn to trust in this way during these times of waiting! Thanks!