Small Group Discussion Questions
Unc ove red Co nfession John Howard th March 11 th & 12 , 20 17
Bringing the hidden realities of what’s in here, out there Unconfessed Sin: Destroys us ______________________________________ Destroys our _____________________________________ Destroys our _____________________________________ Confession: Stop hiding from ______________________________________ Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
We can try to be good, but uncovering the practice of confession actually frees us from the grip of sin. Read Psalm 32:1-5 1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven,whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.[b] 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord. “And you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Icebreaker When have you found something you thought was lost for good? Questions 1.
Stop hiding from ______________________________________
Depending on your group member’s backgrounds, the word “confession” could bring up some old scars. If people start sharing hurt, anger of confusion about confession, be sure to validate their thoughts and feelings and thank them for sharing.
1 John 1:8-9 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Stop hiding from ______________________________________ James 5:16 “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” Tell someone you ______________________________________ Tell someone who ______________________________________ Tell someone __________________________________________
When you hear the word “confession” what immediately comes to mind? Does the word have positive or negative connotations for you?
In the above scripture, what does vs 3 mean: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away”? How might keeping silent about our transgressions (sins) destroy us? Unconfessed sin destroys us physically (literally affecting our bodies as we carry around a weight), destroys our future (by keeping us stuck in the past)
How does David (the author of this psalm) describe those who have confessed their transgressions?
When you stop hiding and confess whatever you need to confess to God, remember a few things:
King David was no stranger to sin and confession. In 2 Samuel 11-12 we find the story of David dealing with sin. At the time, David was the king of Israel, and his armies were out on the battlefield at war. One evening he noticed a beautiful woman named Bathsheba, his neighbor, in her bathtub. She was married to a loyal soldier in David’s army, a man named Uriah.
• Don’t beg. You don’t have to beg for God to forgive you • Don’t bargain. Don’t say, “if you just forgive me, I’ll never do this again. • Don’t bribe. Don’t say “God if you’ll forgive me, I promise to do a bunch of good things. I’ll go to church, I’ll tithe, I’ll do this or that…
Rather than do the right thing, David had her brought to him, and she became pregnant. Instead of confessing and facing the consequences of his sin, David began to hide, covering up his sin with one lie after another until eventually he did the unthinkable. He gave an order to his general to place Uriah on the front line of the battle and had the rest of the army pull back so that Uriah was struck down and killed. It wasn’t until God sent a prophet named Nathan that David came out of hiding. He brought this secret that was inside out into the light. It’s in light of the experience with hiding and confessing that David is able to write psalms like this Psalm 32 4.
God wants to forgive you. In fact, He’s already forgiven you. John reminds us God is faithful, and will forgive our sins. All we have to do is come out of hiding and confess to God.
Often we hide our sin even from ourselves. We tell ourselves it wasn’t that bad or that anyone else would have done the same thing. We make light of what we’ve done so we don’t had to deal with it. But until were honest with ourselves about our mistakes, we can’t bring them to God for forgiveness and healing. Without them we’ll continue making the same mistakes over and over again. Once we’re honest with ourselves, we can go to God. Who is “faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9) The word purify means to take away or to make clean again. When we quit hiding from God, he will forgive every dirty though asn deed – every single wrong.
What is it like for you to confess to God? What do you think, feel and experience?
Do we need to confess our sins to other people to be forgiven? Why or why not? This question may be on the minds of those who come from a Catholic background. This can be a moment of clarity and healing for them if discussed well. Many in you group will likely say that we don’t need to confess to others – just God. Point them to James 5:16 “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so you may be healed. Help your group to see that while confessing to others doesn’t secure forgiveness, but we can be healed through the process as others speak truth to us, encourage us and hold us accountable. When we are down, we need others who will look us in the eye and tell us that God truly has forgiven us and that our sins are not who we are. But there’s no need to go to special person like a pastor to confess our sins. Rather, we can do this with a close friend or in our small group – in other words, with the very people we walk through life with us.
Why do you think our first instinct is to hide the wrong things we’ve done rather than confess?
When have you confessed to a friend or small group and experienced healing? What was that experience like for you? We often hold back from confessing to others because we fear our secrets will be shared with others, we’ll be rejected if they knew who we really are ore we’ll be judged. This can be a tough question, but it’s important to share the positive experiences we’ve had with confessing to one another. To kick off this discussion, you may need to share first. Ahead of time, think of what you might share in response to this question. As you model vulnerability and share your experience with confession, others will open up.
What does it mean or look like to have a safe place for confession?
In light of this discussion, what things in your life do you need to confess – whether to a friend or in the group? This question is more or less for reflection but it also opens up the conversation in case someone has something on their heart. Make sure group members know they don’t need to share anything right, now. But they should consider what they need to confess and how they might do that this week.