Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Life's Not Fair (Acts 16)

- What did Paul and Silas (P/S) do that made the crowd upset?

- Were the people’s accusations against them fair? Why or why not?

- Do you think that Paul did the right thing by healing the girl?

- Is it possible that people can do things that are right and still get accused of doing wrong? Give an example.

- Did P/S receive a fair judgment from the court? Why or why not?

- If fairness means that wrongdoers always get punished and “rightdoers” never suffer, is life fair? Why or why not?

- If we cannot be sure that we will get a “fair” response to our actions, whom should we focus on pleasing?

- Say, “The fact is, life is not fair. If we spend our whole life worrying about whether or not we are being treated fairly, we’ll never be happy. Sometimes people do wrong and don’t get punished right away, and sometimes people do the right thing and suffer for it. Instead of worrying about fair treatment, we should worry about pleasing God with our actions.”

- How did P/S respond to the unfair treatment they received?

- What are ways we suffer?

- How can we follow the example of P/S in the way we respond to suffering?

- What did P/S do when they had a chance to leave the prison?

- Based on this, how do you think P/S felt about authority? Explain your answer.

- How did the jailer respond when he found out P/S hadn’t left?

- What was the “happy ending” for the jailer and his family?

- Would the jailer and his family have been saved if P/S had been treated fairly? Why or why not?

- Say, “Often God works in ways we don’t understand. Many times he uses our suffering to accomplish a greater good. Sometimes we don’t see the results of our suffering for years, or maybe we never do, but we can have confidence that God is using it for the good of us and many others. This story reminds us that an important thing to remember is that no matter what others are doing or saying to and about us, we need to do whatever will bring honor to God.”

- Have the group think of ways they may suffer for doing right. Encourage them to commit themselves to doing the right thing even in the difficult situations.

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