Date: September 25 2022
Faith on Display in Your Conversations
The Point: When you rely on God, your words reflect His character.
Get Into the Study
Use this story after the recap question: “But what if they did?”
It was the slap heard around the world. Will Smith walked up to Chris Rock on the stage of the Oscars and struck him across the face for all mankind to see. Even if you weren’t watching the awards presentation, you heard about it at least by the next morning. The world reeled at a shocking display of anger at such a glamorous event.
While people remember the slap, you can’t ignore the words that led to it. While serving as the host, Chris Rock poked fun at Smith’s wife over a physical issue that is a result of a health condition. Even while intended to be a joke, the couple did not find it funny at all. Smith began to yell back at Rock and then walked on stage for the most unfortunately memorable moment in that event’s history.
We must understand for all the shock that the slap caused, we must never forget that words led to it. While we learned the “Sticks and Stones” rhyme as children, we have all lived enough to know that words will hurt you. What people say can lead to significant hurt and escalating reactions.
In what environments do you often see words provoke unhelpful responses?
Our words reflect our character. They create reactions. You may never anticipate slapping someone for the world to see, but I doubt Smith did either. But with every hurtful word exchanged, the tempers escalated.
For more information on this story, check out: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-62348252
Travis Agnew is a disciple of Jesus, husband to Amanda, dad to the Agnew 3, and Lead Pastor or Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. He loves writing about faith and family at travisagnew.org.
Get Into the Study [Option from Adult Leader Guide, p. 47]
In advance, play a video clip showing someone who encourages another. Then ask Question #1.
Live It Out
Share the following story as you conclude your session.
Twitter has announced an edit button. Now you can correct your typos or even change those words you realize you shouldn’t have posted. But there are some limits. Twitter only gives you 30 minutes to edit the tweet and will allow for a maximum of five edits per tweet. Additionally, all edited tweets will be labeled as edited, so you can’t take back your foolish words without others knowing. The new feature is still being tested internally by Twitter, and then will be made available to Twitter Blue members in New Zealand, then Australia, Canada, and the U.S.
We’ve all said, posted, or texted things we shouldn’t have. Sometimes the errors are funny, other times they are hurtful or even dangerous. What we say matters. Every chapter in the book of James has at least one warning about our speech (James 1:19,26, 2:12, 3, 4:11, 5:9,12). Unfortunately, once the words have left our mouths (or fingertips), they can’t be undone completely. But God’s wisdom can guide us so our conversations reflect His character. God promises to give us wisdom if we will just stop and ask Him (Jas. 1:5).
Ask: How might stopping to ask God for wisdom change your online conversations? What are some ways our conversations online and offline can reflect Christ?
Invite the group to review the Live It Out section and each choose one application for this week.
Nikki Wilbanks grew up in Tennessee before heading to California to study literature at Pepperdine University. She enjoyed a decade-long career as a commercial real estate appraiser in Southern California, where she met her husband. Back in Tennessee now, she loves being a writer and mom. She is an active member at Third Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
- What is your favorite topic of conversation when you get together with friends?
- Who always leaves you encouraged when you talk with them?
- When has a small phrase made a positive impact in your life?
- What are the most influential words you ever heard?
- When have you seen the power of words shape a community in harmful ways?
- When have you been harmed by the power of words?
- What effect has technology had on the power of words
- What are some practical ways we can use our speech to help others and glorify God?
- What are some consequences of inconsistent speech?
- How can you evaluate whether your words are reflecting God’s character?
- How can our group help one another honor God with our communication?
- How has your life been changed by wise and gentle words?
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:
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
- Mature Living – The Power of Words
Tips for Leading Bible Study Groups
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.