N- The Virtue of Patience

///N- The Virtue of Patience
N- The Virtue of Patience2017-03-30T17:07:02+00:00
Study Explanation
Key Scripture
Discussion Guides
Growing Exercises
Recommended Reading

Explanation

This is your reaction to encountering resistance.  How do you react when someone or something is hurting or hindering you?  How do you react when someone or something is “getting in your way” of what you want to accomplish?  Do you demonstrate grace, mercy, tolerance and forgiveness?  Are you slow to anger?  Are you understanding and even sympathetic towards others and their faults?  Do you understand that like you they are fallen and in need of acceptance, love and forgiveness?  On the other hand, are you quick to take offense?  Do you hold on to grudges?  Do you lash out in anger or even violence, or do you withdraw into a smoldering resentment and bitterness?  Do you have a hard time letting things go?  Do little things bother you?  Do people frequently bother you?  Do you view yourself as a martyr or victim?  In short, are you able to rise above injuries and offenses to genuinely love others or do you embrace injuries allowing them to impact and change your heart?

KEY SCRIPTURES

Key Scriptures

Key Scriptures are designed to give a biblical overview of the topic in question.  They are extremely valuable for gaining an immediate general understanding of what the Bible teaches on a given subject.  Key Scriptures are the first place you should explore when starting a new subject.  They can be discussed individually, in part, or in whole.  Generic inductive Bible study questions are provided to assist you in your discussion.  Key Scriptures are also good for memorizing and reference.

Patience

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. NIV

1 Timothy 1:16 – But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. NIV

James 1:19-20 – My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. NIV

See also Proverbs 16:32, & 19:11

Anger

Psalm 4:4 – In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. NIV

Psalm 145:8 – The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. NIV

Proverbs 29:11 – A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. NIV

Ephesians 4:26-27 – “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. NIV

See also Psalm 37:8 & Ecclesiastes 7:9

Forgiveness

Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. NIV

Graciousness

Colossians 4:6 – Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. NIV

Matthew 5:44 – But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. NIV

Proverbs 15:1 – A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. NIV

Mercy

Matthew 5:7 – Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. NIV

Acceptance

Romans 15:7 – Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. NIV

Inductive Bible Study Questions

to be used with individual Key Scriptures

  • What is the primary point of this passage?
  • How does this passage challenge us?
  • How does this passage comfort or encourage us?
  • What does this passage teach us about God?
  • What spiritual insights are found in this passage?
  • What are the personal & spiritual implications of this text?
  • What does this passage ask or require of us?

Key Scriptures Bible Study

to be used when studying all Key Scriptures together

  • Did any of the scriptures given surprise you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given confuse you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given comfort or excite you?
  • How would you sum up these scriptures to another?
  • What implications do these scriptures have for our lives?
  • Which of these scriptures would you find it valuable to memorize?

DISCUSSION GUIDES

Forgiveness

N1 – Forgiveness: Given and Received – Matthew 6: 12-14

Key Words: Patience, Forgiveness, Prayer, Humility, Grace, Forgiving Others

  1. Does the phrase “Forgive us our debts” respond to a basic and existential human need for absolution… explain?
  2. What are the many implications of this prayer request: humility… need… guilt… grace… peace?
  3. What does the prayer imply about God’s willingness and readiness to forgive us?
  4. What expectations does Jesus have towards those whose sins have been forgiven?
  5. Why is our ability to forgive others an indicator of genuine repentance and forgiveness from God?
  6. Why should Christians demonstrate forgiveness? …mercy?  …graciousness?  …acceptance?
  7. Why is the term ‘unforgiving Christian’ an oxymoron?
  8. What advice would you give to a Christian who is harsh or unable to forgive others?
  • Approach all scripture prayerfully open
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N2 – Forgiving the Unforgivable – Luke 23:34

Key Words: Patience, Forgiveness, Forgiving Others, Grace, Cross

  1. Describe the magnitude of the offense the killers of Jesus committed?
  2. Is torturing God’s perfect and beautiful Son to death the most heinous act ever committed… explain?
  3. Does the fact that Jesus was thinking of his torturers while on the cross surprise you?
  4. What would you have been thinking in his place?
  5. How is this act consistent with the ethic Jesus lived and preached?
  6. In what other ways was Jesus thinking about forgiveness on the cross?
  7. Why is it important that we strive to follow his example?
  8. How does our living this ethic of forgiveness and grace impact others?
  9. How do we follow his example?
  • Approach God’s Word with humility, honesty and teachability
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N3 – The Ethic of Love – Colossians 3:12-17

Key Words: Patience, Love, Forgiveness, Grace, Unity, Church

  1. Summarize the ethic of this passage?
  2. According to the text, what compels us to love and forgive others?
  3. The Lord tells us to put away our grievances, yet is there any indication these grievances are not legitimate?
  4. Are we not to stand for justice and truth as well?
  5. What about church discipline?
  6. Why should forgiveness and grace define a church?
  7. Why is peace and unity often difficult to accomplish?
  8. How are peace and unity marks of authentic believers and Spirit filled churches?
  • These questions are only suggestions, allow the Holy Spirit to be your guide
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N4 – The Ethic of Jesus – Romans 12: 14-21

Key Words: Patience, Spirituality, Persecution, Self-Denial, Forgiveness, Revenge

  1. Summarize the ethic of this passage?
  2. In what ways does this passage express the ethic of Jesus and how he taught us to live?
  3. Is this how most Christians you know generally treat others…explain?
  4. Who are those of low position: does this include only those of low income or status… explain?
  5. Specifically how do we bless and not curse those who persecute us?
  6. On a scale of 1 – 10 how difficult do you find it to practice the instruction in this text?
  7. Which commands do you find particularly difficult?
  8. What reasons does Paul give for seeking forgiveness and peace?
  9. What does it mean to heap coals upon someone’s head?
  10. Does it bring you comfort to know that God will ultimately make right the wrongs committed against us?
  11. Why is it better to leave vengeance to the Lord?
  • These questions are simply a foundation for you to build upon
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N5 – Passing Grace On – Matthew 18: 21-35

Key Words: Patience, Grace, Forgiving Others, Unforgiveness

  1. What might Peter to pose such a question to Jesus: what is he really asking?
  2. What does it mean to forgive 70 times 7 times?
  3. What is the point of the parable?
  4. Why were the other servants in the parable distressed?
  5. Was the king in the parable just in his actions… explain?
  6. On what basis should forgiveness be the default position for Christians?
  7. When do Christians commit the same violation as the man in the parable?
  8. How do you suppose God views unforgiving Christians?
  9. What most challenges you from living this ethic?
  10. What perspective empowers us to forgive others regardless of their offense?
  • Create your own study by adding and subtracting questions as needed
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N6 – Finding Forgiveness and Absolution – Psalm 51

Key Words: Patience, Forgiveness, Guilt, Shame, Sin

  1. What is the background of this Psalm (See 2 Samuel 11:1 – 12:10)?
  2. Do you believe David’s contrition is sincere… explain?
  3. Specifically what does David fear will be the result of his sin?
  4. What is the nature of the truth mentioned in verse 6?
  5. How does David take responsibility for his actions?
  6. Why would David say that his sin is only against God?
  7. How is all sin ultimately against God?
  8. How emotionally and spiritually destructive is guilt and shame?
  9. Have you ever grieved specific sins as deeply as David, if so, how did this guilt impact your life?
  10. Do you agree that the more we appreciate the magnitude of our sin, the more we appreciate the magnitude of God’s forgiveness?
  11. How should owning God’s forgiveness change the way we view ourselves and the way we treat others?
  • Your questions are probably better than mine
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N7 – Caring Enough to Rebuke – Luke 17:3 – 4

Key Words: Patience, Accountability, Spiritual Community, Righteousness, Repentance

  1. Break down the process described in this verse?
  2. What is Jesus trying to accomplish with this teaching: to police our brother… to help our brother… to judge our brother… to grow our brother… to love our brother?
  3. What then is the spirit of the teaching?
  4. What does it mean to rebuke another?
  5. What does it mean to rebuke another in love…explain?
  6. How do you respond when someone rebukes you?
  7. What if it is done in love?
  8. What kind of relationship do you need to have with someone before you accept a rebuke from them?
  9. What does your response teach you about how to rebuke others?
  10. How does healthy rebuke lead to righteousness (literally right relationships)?
  11. Is it possible to forgive unrepentant people?
  12. How does unforgiveness impact our own souls?
  13. Why is a life of forgiveness emotionally and spiritually healthy?
  • Spend time with the questions prior to leading a group or coaching time
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N8 – The Fruit of Unforgiveness – Mark 11: 25-26

Key Words: Patience, Forgiveness, Bitterness, Prayer

  1. It is unreasonable for Jesus to expect his followers to not “hold anything against anyone?”
  2. Does Jesus have a moral right to ask this of his people… explain?
  3. Why might our unforgiveness hinder our prayers?
  4. Why might our unforgiveness hinder our own forgiveness?
  5. Is our inability to forgive an indication of insincerity on our part… explain?
  6. Who is the person in your life you have the most difficult time forgiving?
  7. Have you ever completely forgiven that person?
  8. Why is it so difficult to let go of those old wounds?
  9. How would your life change if you could somehow let it all go: all wounds… all offenses… all resentments… all bitterness… and all unforgiveness?
  • Interrogatives are keys that unlock wonderful secrets 
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Graciousness

N9 – Being a Community of Grace – 2 Corinthians 2: 5–11

Key Words: Patience, Church, Spiritual Community, Grace, Forgiving Others, Satan

  1. What is the general tenor of this passage?
  2. What has obviously happened in this church?
  3. How does Paul advise dealing with this situation?
  4. What rationale does Paul give to the Corinthians for being gracious and forgiving with one another?
  5. What are the results of not forgiving and comforting one another as the text advocates us to do?
  6. In what ways does Satan outwit us when we are overly critical, judging and unforgiving towards one another?
  7. What are Satan’s schemes within a congregation?
  8. How do we thwart those schemes?
  • Be like a detective who interrogates scripture 
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N10 – Tolerance and Unity – Romans 14: 1-4

Key Words: Patience, Unity, Acceptance, Tolerance, Grace, Maturity

  1. Does Paul imply here that some Christians are legitimately stronger and some are weaker?
  2. What does Paul teach characterizes stronger Christians?
  3. What does Paul teach characterizes weaker Christians?
  4. What does it mean to express tolerance towards those spiritually weaker than yourself?
  5. What rationale does Paul give for stronger Christians demonstrating grace to weaker Christians?
  6. What well intentioned faults do immature Christians often commit?
  7. How do such faults often impact others?
  8. Should we indulge the immature or gently instruct them in their shortcomings?
  9. Does this passage teach the preeminence of unity and love?
  10. How does the ethic of unity and love impact legitimate doctrinal and spiritual differences?
  • The insight is found in scripture; questions are simply tools to mine the ore
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N11 – Showing Grace to Hurtful People – 1 Peter 2: 18-23

Key Words: Patience, Grace, Forgiving Others, Persecution, Hardships, Sinful Nature

  1. If you were a slave how would you react to this teaching?
  2. What spiritual qualities must a person possess to practice this advice?
  3. Although, we are not slaves, how does the spirit of this text apply to our own lives and relationships?
  4. What principles do we find in this passage about dealing with harsh people in our lives?
  5. What rationale does the passage give for enduring hardship and demonstrating grace to harsh people? What is our natural reaction to such people?
  6. Does this text indicate we should allow ourselves to be victimized or suffer unnecessarily?
  7. How do we show God’s love to such people without allowing them to take unnecessary advantage of us?
  • Follow the lines of curiosity 
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N12 – The Blessings of Persecution – Matthew 5: 10 -12

Key Words: Patience, Persecution, Righteousness, Blessing, Faith, Perspective

  1. How is the phrase, ‘the blessings of persecution’ an oxymoron?
  2. How do you react when people spread false information about you?
  3. How do you react when you learn that someone has it out for you and may even be scheming behind your back; or even worse, is openly hostile?
  4. What advice does Jesus give to those in that situation?
  5. How is it possible to feel blessed when others are behaving aggressively towards you?
  6. How is such an attitude a matter of perspective?
  7. How is such an attitude a matter of faith?
  8. Why does the text say we should feel blessed?
  9. In what various ways is persecution an opportunity?
  • Group leaders may wish to consult a commentary for background information 
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N13 – Practical Grace – 1 Peter 3: 8-12

Key Words: Patience, Grace, Spirituality, Revenge

  1. Describe the ethic of verse 8?
  2. How is this ethic consistent with the life and teachings of Jesus?
  3. How is verse 9 a practical implication or application of verse 8?
  4. What does it mean to repay evil for evil?
  5. When someone wounds you, how strong is the temptation for you to wound them back?
  6. Is this passage essentially saying that two wrongs don’t make a right, or is it more complicated than that… explain?
  7. Why do we often feel justified in retaliation?
  8. How many times does God call retaliation evil in this text?
  9. Is retaliation, even provoked evil, ever justified?
  10. Why is this ethic difficult for you to practice?
  11. How do you genuinely feel about this ethic and practicing it in your own life?
  • Seek to connect the dots with other scriptures and Bible content 
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N14 – Bearing with Difficult People and Situations – 1 Corinthians 13:7

Key Words: Patience, Forbearance, Faithfulness, Love, Forgiveness, Grace

  1. Some translations phrase this text as, “Bears all Things;” what does that mean?
  2. What does this command imply about the nature of life and human interpersonal relationships?
  3. What things must you bear in your life?
  4. How do you typically deal with things or people that annoy, inconvenience or anger you?
  5. What clues does the rest of the chapter give us about bearing all things in love?
  6. How well do you bear your burdens in love and all that it and this chapter implies?
  7. Do you bear your burdens with grace or do you make your endurance obvious to all?
  8. How are love and forbearance connected?
  9. How does God demonstrate forbearance with us?
  • There are no greater tools for effective Bible study than humility, honesty, and diligence
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Mercy

N15 – The Ethic of Mercy – Micah 6:8

Key Words: Patience, Mercy, Spirituality, False Spirituality, Goodness, Righteousness

  1. What do most Christians believe the Lord requires from them, or how do most Christians define spirituality?
  2. Where does this understanding of spirituality come from?
  3. How do our common understandings of spirituality compare to the ethic found in this passage?
  4. Is this passage consistent with the ethic of Jesus and New Testament spirituality… explain?
  5. Why is what the Lord actually requires and what we assume he requires often so difference?
  6. In what ways are mercy, justice and humility linchpin virtues for the people God?
  7. What would you say about an extremely religious person who did not possess the virtues of mercy, justice and humility?
  8. How do such virtues exemplify the biblical values of goodness and righteousness (right relationships)?
  • You are responsible for your level of engagement
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N16 – How to Respond to Enemies – Proverbs 25: 21-22

Key Words: Patience, Revenge, Enemies, Hatred, Grace, Love, Forgiveness

  1. What does it say about this passage that it is quoted by both Jesus and Paul?
  2. How is the passage using the word ‘enemy?’
  3. How would you describe an enemy in your life?
  4. Who are the people in your life that treat you poorly, if not with hostility or malice?
  5. How do such people make you feel and how do you treat them in return?
  6. Is it natural to want to feed or refresh our enemies?
  7. How do most people treat their enemies?
  8. How does the world respond when they see people living the ethic espoused in this passage?
  9. Why must we rely completely on the Lord as we attempt to live out these values?
  10. Is it possible to do these things in our own strength?
  11. According to the text, how does the Lord respond to blessing our enemies?
  • Go beyond the obvious by avoiding “Yes” or “No” answers
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Bitterness and Unforgiveness

N17 – The Poison of Bitterness – Job 21:25

Key Words: Patience, Bitterness, Unforgiveness, Suffering, Grace, Self-Righteousness

  1. The context of this passage essentially says that bitterness robs us of enjoyment in life… do you agree… explain?
  2. Why are bitter people so miserable?
  3. Has bitterness ever been a negative force in your life… explain?
  4. In your experience, is bitterness typically just?
  5. How would you counsel those who have good reason to feel bitter?
  6. Why is it better for us to let go of a legitimate offense?
  7. How does bitterness allow our offender to continue wounding us?
  8. Why do you agree or disagree with the following statement: in extending grace to others, we extend grace to ourselves; while withholding grace leads to bondage and self-righteousness?
  • Think before answering
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N18 – The Challenge of Love – Leviticus 19:18

Key Words: Patience, Love, Revenge, Forgiving Others, Grace

  1. In what context does Jesus quote this passage in Matthew 22: 37-40?
  2. With what does the Leviticus passage contrast with loving your neighbor?
  3. Who is our neighbor?
  4. What is going on in the hearts of those who hold grudges and seek revenge?
  5. What are some of the subtle things we do to exact revenge or express our anger towards those who have wronged us?
  6. How hard is it for you to express love towards people who have wronged you?
  7. What are the moods, attitudes, words, and actions we express that undermine love?
  8. Why are these actions beneath a true follower of Christ?
  9. How did Christ treat people who wronged him?
  10. Why is the noble path one of grace, mercy, forgiveness and love?
  11. Why is this path always worth it?
  • Thoughtful silence is the soil of epiphany
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N19 – Dealing with Separation and Brokenness – Matthew 5: 21-24

Key Words: Patience, Brokenness, Righteousness, Spirituality, Reconciliation

  1. Is anger is our hearts just as bad as anger expressed… explain?
  2. What damage does unresolved anger have in our hearts and souls?
  3. Does this passage teach that we cannot be fully right with God until we are fully right with man… explain?
  4. Do you feel it is possible to be fully right with others… explain?
  5. What does this imply about authentic spirituality?
  6. Do you feel this places the onus on us to maintain right relationships?
  7. How should we respond when we learn someone is upset with us?
  8. How should we deal with a broken relationship when the other person is entirely in the wrong?
  9. How should we deal with a broken relationship when the other person does not desire reconciliation?
  10. How would you explain this ethic to someone else?
  •  Seek Nuance
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N20 – Dealing with Offenses and Offensive People – Luke 6: 27-38

Key Words: Patience, Difficult People, Grace, Forbearance, Forgiving Others, Spirituality

  1. How does the text describe the various situations and people with whom we are to extend grace?
  2. Do you have people in your life that fit this description?
  3. Describe how we are to respond to such people?
  4. Do verses 27-29 mean that we are to be doormats; if not, how do we interpret and apply this text?
  5. According verses 32-34, how does the world determine who to love?
  6. How do we determine who to love?
  7. What are the specific rewards for those who love and forgive their enemies?
  8. What is the value of these rewards?
  9. Are Christians often known for being this way, or are we generally known for being judgmental and condemning towards others?
  10. Why is a judgmental spirit a particularly common temptation among Christians?
  11. How does a judgmental spirit undermine our witness?
  12. Examine the verbs in this passage; what do they reveal about Christian spirituality?
  • Be sure to explore all the resources for each doctrine, virtue, and practice
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GROWING EXERCISES

  1. Do a kind deed towards a person who is hostile towards you or you know does not like you.
  1. Write a letter of forgiveness towards someone with whom you have a long time broken relationship.
  1. Identify sources of anger and commit to go an entire week without reacting negatively. For example, I will not yell in traffic, be rude to the customer service representative, or snap at my spouse or children.  Discuss how difficult it is to maintain control over your anger.
  1. Seek forgiveness from someone you have wronged.
  1. Inventory your family relationships and friendships from over the years. Make a list of relationships are strained or distant because of something that happened.  Take steps to mend those relationships.
  1. Obtain a copy of the ‘Heartsearcher’ prayer guide from your coach and spend at least one hour working through it.
  1. Identify areas of tension in your family, church, work or neighborhood. Ask, “How can I be a peacemaker and bring reconciliation to this environment.”
  1. Identify an area of impatience or frustration in your life. Identify the sources of these feelings.   Spend time in prayer specifically asking God to reveal the root of this problem in your life. Pray for grace and strength to overcome this issue?
  1. If there is a feeling or issue you cannot let go of, write a letter to yourself from God outlining how unhealthy your attitude is and why you should give this situation over to him?
  1. Ask your spouse or best friend to identify areas of bitterness in your life. Inventory your own heart for bitterness as well.  Reflect on why you feel the way you do.  Reflect on what God’s word has to say about bitterness.  Repent and resolve to give these issues over to the Lord.

RECOMMENDED READING

  1. Making Peace with Your Past by Tim Sledge
  2. The Raggamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
  3. What’s so Amazing About Grace by Phillip Yancy
  4. When Good Men get Angry by Bill Perkins
  5. Anger: Discovering Your Spiritual Ally by Andrew Lester
  6. Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace by Miroslav Volf
  7. God and the Victim: Theological Reflections on Evil, Victimization, Justice and Forgiveness by Lisa Barnes Lampman (Editor)
  8. Growing in Grace by Bob George
  9. How to be Free from Bitterness and other Essays on Christian Relationships by Jim Wilson