PDF format is at: June 27, 2021 Bible Study
Case Study #6
17-year-old Matt and his dad just finished fighting about Matt’s use of his dad’s car without permission. Matt walked out on his father at the end of the argument and went to his room to sulk.
Matt’s father felt guilty about the fight. While he knew he needed to address his son’s sins (taking the car without permission; lying about it; treating his father with disrespect), he realized that the manner in which he confronted his son was ungodly. He let his anger get out of control (Ephesians 4:26-27), he called his son various names (Ephesians 4:29), and he provoked his son to anger and failed to discipline him in a loving way (Ephesians 6:4). He failed to show him the love and forgiveness of Christ, even while disciplining him (see Hebrews 12:7-11; 1 Peter 4:8; Ephesians 4:32).
Matt’s father took the form Proclaiming God’s Forgiveness (pages 22-26 of this guide) and approached his son’s bedroom. Knocking quietly on the door, he asked to come in. Matt responded, “Whatever.” The father began by expressing sorrow over losing his temper and attacking his son. He asked for Matt’s forgiveness. Matt quickly responded with, “Sure, Dad.” This led Matt to admit taking the car, saying that he didn’t realize he had damaged it. Matt explained that his friend called, depressed over a breakup with his girlfriend. Matt dropped everything and immediately drove over to pick up his friend and drive around so that they could talk in private. Matt’s dad then introduced him to the form and asked if they could try to confess their sins to God and one another using the pamphlet. Matt agreed. Matt’s father confessed first, specifically naming his own sins, asking God and Matt for forgiveness. Using the words of the form, Matt proclaimed God’s forgiveness to his father and then offered his personal forgiveness. Matt then confessed his sin to God and his father, identifying some of his particular sins.
Matt’s father proclaimed God’s forgiveness to him and offered personal forgiveness. Matt ended up paying for the damage to the car. Most importantly, father and son reconciled through mutual confession and forgiveness.
To the above case study or to a current conflict from your personal life. For the case study, assume the father’s role. For a conflict from your life, apply these questions to yourself, writing out your answers.
The following is the recorded discussion in three parts:
1. How have you prepared to restore the other person with forgiveness?
2. Before seeking to restore the other person, what kinds of logs do you need to get out of your own eye first (Matthew 7:1-5)?
3. Review 2 Timothy 2:24-26. What are your responsibilities in helping the person with whom you are in conflict? What are God’s responsibilities and not yours?
4. How have you failed to restore the other person with gentleness?
5. Review Galatians 6:1. Identify the sins that you believe have ensnared the other person.
6. If these were your sins, describe what another person could do that would help free you from your entanglement.
7. Identify a time and place that will provide safety for both you and the other person to meet together.
8. Prepare your words by writing out your opening comments. • Begin by assuring the other person of your care and Christian love. • Acknowledge behaviors and motives of the other person that are godly. • Confess your own sins that you have not yet addressed. • Next, if you were personally affected, refer to the behavior that caused you personal hurt or harm. Using an “I statement,” indicate how you were personally hurt or affected: “I feel _____________ when you ____________ because ___________. As a result, I _______________.”
9. Prepare yourself to listen. The other person will not likely hear anything you have to say until he or she feels that you have listened to him or her. Remember basic skills in active listening: • Waiting – Be patient. Wait until the other person finishes speaking before responding. Don’t plan your response until the other person is finished speaking. • Attending – Maintain eye contact and other body language that communicates your genuine interest. Nod occasionally or respond with short phrases that indicate you are paying attention (e.g., I see, uh-huh, I understand, etc.). • Clarifying – Ask questions to test your understanding (e.g., When you said _______, did you mean ______?). • Reflecting – Repeat short portions back to the person. This communicates that you are listening closely and allows for the other person to restate things if needed. It also helps the other person hear back what she has said, which may help her rethink her responses to the situation. • Agreeing – Look for opportunities to agree. When you agree with some portions, the other person believes that you are open-minded and really listening. He will much more likely hear what you have to say if he believes you are balanced in your assessment. Prepare open-ended questions to help the other person discover for himself the offensive behaviors and own them. For example: • “When you [describe the behavior], what were you hoping would be the result?” • “If you had the opportunity, what would you have done differently?” • “If someone else had done the same thing to you, how would you have felt?” • “Now that you have had time to reflect, what words or actions do you regret?” • “What could you have done that would be more reflective of your faith in Christ? Write out some questions:
11. Anticipate the person’s reaction to your questions and plan your response. • How will you respond if she immediately repents? • How will you respond if he becomes angry? • How will you respond if she tries to justify what she did? • How will you respond if he tries to explain things away?
12. What will be your next steps if he is not yet repentant?