by Bethany Allen
Begin with prayer (5 minutes)
Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of a living room, etc.). Have somebody lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.
Debrief last weeks practice in triads (10 minutes)
If you are in a Community of seven or more, divide into small groups of 3–4 people each (ideally same gender) and talk through the following debrief questions about the teaching:
- Which parts of last weeks Practice did you find helpful?
- Which step challenged you the most?
- What did the Holy Spirit reveal to you through last week’s Practice?
Read this Overview
Throughout this Practice we’ve unpacked what it means to be forgive and release others, and transform pain into blessing. As the Spirit leads us to places of greater understanding and healing, he also reveals the ways we’ve hurt others and the need to make it right. For the follower of Jesus, when the Holy Spirit convicts, there must be a response. Often, in the face of conviction we are tempted to either ignore what he says or be paralyzed by our guilt and shame. In these moments it is imperative that we remember the truth: conviction from the Spirit is always an invitation to life and freedom. Guilt and shame are not from God and lead us to greater bondage.
Recall that forgiveness is our personal act to release the one who sinned against us from our personal right to collect on the moral debt (to pay them back) for their offense, with or without their participation in the process. Reconciliation, however, is when move toward another and work to restore a broken relationship. As you can imagine, its complicated because while forgiveness takes one person, reconciliation takes two.
For this Practice we’ll be spending some time in listening prayer and asking the Spirit if there is anyone we’ve wronged with whom we need to reconcile or seek forgiveness. Then, we’ll explore and evaluate where we are in the process of reconciliation and determine our next steps.
Do this Practice as a Community right now: (10-30 minutes)
Break up into triads (3-4 people) and designate a leader within that group. Put away your phones or any other distractions, and get comfortable.
We want to spend some time in listening prayer.
Part 1: Who have I wronged?
• Have someone invite the Holy Spirit to speak to us and allow us to hear his voice as we engage in listening prayer.
• Ask the Holy Spirit:
• Is there anyone in my past or present whom I have wronged?
• Have I reconciled with this person?
• To give you an image of what it would look like to be reconciled with this person.
• Spend time sharing and confessing what the Spirit has revealed.
Part 2: What are my next steps?
• As we discussed in the teaching, the five steps of reconciliation are: conviction, confession (apology), repentance, restitution, and reconciliation. Take a moment to sit with these steps and share where you are at in the process of reconciliation with the person revealed to you in Part 1.
• Consider the step you’re on and ask the Spirit to reveal to you what it would take to move you forward to the next step. If the Spirit just now convicted you, ask him what it would look like to move onto the next step (confession/apology).
Disclaimer: Depending on the severity of the circumstances, the person you wounded may not be ready to enter the process of reconciliation. Be mindful and sensitive to their journey. Your role is not to make them ready, but to be obedient to what the Spirit is asking of you.
Read over this coming week’s Practice before you call it a night: (10 minutes)
Note: Just read and talk through this individual exercise before you call it a night.
Option 1: If the Spirit did not reveal someone tonight with whom you need to reconcile, spend some time in listening prayer asking him again.
Option 2: If the Spirit did not reveal the next step you need to take in reconciliation, spend some time in listening prayer asking him again.
Option 3: If he revealed someone with whom you need to reconcile and you know where you are at in the process of reconciliation, take time in listening prayer and ask the Spirit what it looks like to practically take that next step.
• Maybe it means working through this all with a counselor.
• Maybe it means confessing this to your Bridgetown Community Leader or a friend.
• Keep in mind that taking the next step might not happen this week. That’s ok. The goal is to be actively working towards it.
Work through these discussion questions (10-15 minutes)
- What is the hardest part of reconciliation for you?
- What are most looking forward to in being reconciled with this person?
Close in prayer (10 minutes)