When You've Been Wronged Study Guide

Overview

Erwin Lutzer's book helped thousands grasp the healing power of forgiveness. Now, by using this study guide, the message is even simpler to apply in real life situations.

Bitterness is a self-inflicted wound. By choosing not to forgive, we voluntarily sentence ourselves to diminished, pain-filled lives. Why would anyone do such a thing? Because forgiveness seems an inappropriate response to offense. Painful, personal wounds cry ...

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When You've Been Wronged Study Guide: Moving from Bitterness to Forgiveness

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Overview

Erwin Lutzer's book helped thousands grasp the healing power of forgiveness. Now, by using this study guide, the message is even simpler to apply in real life situations.

Bitterness is a self-inflicted wound. By choosing not to forgive, we voluntarily sentence ourselves to diminished, pain-filled lives. Why would anyone do such a thing? Because forgiveness seems an inappropriate response to offense. Painful, personal wounds cry out for justice.

But what if justice is not possible? Or if it doesn't undo the damage done? In this study guide, designed to be used with the book and the DVD teaching lessons, noted pastor and author Erwin Lutzer carefully illustrates how it is possible to right the wrongs of your life. Whether you've been wronged--or have wronged others--he makes it possible to experience the freedom of forgiveness and the restoration of a clear conscience. 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802488992
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Edition description: Study Guid
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 829,799
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.19 (d)

Meet the Author

DR. ERWIN LUTZER has been Senior Pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago since 1980. Dr. Lutzer is the author of numerous books. His most recent releases include Oprah, Miracles, and the New Earth: A Critique, One Minute After You Die and Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible. Dr. Lutzer is a renowned theologian and is the featured speaker on three radio programs. He and his wife, Rebecca, live in the Chicago area and have three married children and seven grandchildren.

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Read an Excerpt

STUDY GUIDE WHEN YOU'VE BEEN WRONGED

MOVING FROM BITTERNESS TO FORGIVENESS
By ERWIN W. LUTZER

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2010 Erwin W. Lutzer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8024-8899-2


Chapter One

DVD Session One

WHEN YOU RECEIVE AN OFFENSE

In preparation for these discussion questions and the DVD lecture, please read: Chapter 1, "Satan's Mixed Bag of Offenses" Chapter 2, "The Blinding Power of an Offense"

From the Author

WHEN AN OFFENSE festers in our hearts, we cannot confine it within our souls. Instead, it spills over in ways we don't even realize. It's like burning incense in a dormitory. The smell cannot be confined; rather it escapes the dorm room and wafts down the hallway, into the washrooms, and all the way to the front door.

Just so, our bitterness spills over into other relationships no matter how determined we are to keep it confined to a single room within our soul. Nursing an offense quite literally blinds us to our own faults, forces us to have skewed relationships, and warps our self-perceptions.

Ultimately, the path to healing is to follow Christ's example. "When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly" (1 Peter 2:23). This may be a worn-out cliché but it's true: you have to give it to God.

Engaging The Topic

Answer these questions while watching the DVD and reading the book.

1. An __________ is a stumbling block, something that is thrown into your life and keeps you from following God.

2. __________, unless they are given up, never leave our souls.

3. A person who maintains an offense lives within a wall of __________.

4. Those who maintain bitterness become blind to their own __________.

5. Whatever you don't __________ you pass on.

6. A person who maintains an offense frequently seeks __________.

7. A person who maintains an offense can become a __________.

8. A person who hangs on to an offense succumbs to __________.

Opening Activity

Purpose: To help the group think about the pervasiveness of a festering offense.

Supplies: A bag of microwave popcorn; a microwave.

Activity: Tell the group you'll be cooking some popcorn, but they must keep themselves from smelling it. There are only two rules: no one may leave the room while the popcorn is popping, and no one may turn off the microwave. Otherwise, they can take any measure they can think of to keep from smelling the popcorn.

Alternate: Coffee, incense, or a strong scented candle can be used if popcorn is not available.

Questions for Discussion

1. What moments of betrayal do you recall most vividly from books, movies, and television shows? Why did those scenes make an impact on you?

2. List the five types of offenses Satan uses to keep us bound.

3. Read Proverbs 18:19. How have you seen this principle illustrated in your life and relationships?

4. Read 1 John 2:9–11. What are some ways this kind of hate manifests itself in our Western culture? What are some ways this kind of hate manifests itself in our church culture?

5. Discuss the idea of vengeance. Is it ever appropriate for followers of God to avenge themselves after an attack or an offense? Why or why not?

6. Read Ezekiel 14:1–5. How is refusing to let go of bitterness equivalent to idolatry?

7. What benefits do we receive by holding on to offenses and bitterness? Why do we do it?

8. If you are willing to discuss them, what moments of betrayal do you recall most vividly from your past? Have you let go of those offenses, or are you still holding on to the bitterness they caused?

Going Deeper

Read Psalm 55 out loud.

1. Discuss the emotions specifically mentioned by the author, as well as the imagery he uses. How do you react to them?

2. Notice the requests the author gives to God (verses 1–2, 9). Are these appropriate for a follower of God?

3. What event caused David to write this psalm? (See verses 12–15.) How does this foreshadow the experiences of Jesus (a descendant of David)?

4. What is the turning point of this psalm—what verse shows David's posture and emotions moving in a different direction? What direction is he moving to? 5. How would you summarize David's conclusions at the end of this psalm? (See verses 22–23.) What would it take for you to say and feel something similar?

Personal Reflection

It's one of Jesus' most frightening proclamations: "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire" (Matthew 5:21–22).

On one hand, we know that Jesus' words are true because we have been wounded by the words and actions of others. We have felt the brunt of our brother's anger and the sting of our brother's insults. We have been betrayed. We bear the scars of broken promises, broken confidences, rejection, false accusations, and abuse.

On the other hand, we know that Jesus' words are true because we have taken aim with words and actions of our own. We have unleashed our anger on our brother; we have cried "You fool!" We have betrayed. We have delivered broken promises, broken confidences, rejection, false accusations, and abuse. The result is an ever-increasing cycle of offenses given and offenses received, with no end in sight to be achieved through our own resources.

Do you have the courage to turn to Jesus and break free?

Engaging the Topic answers:

1. offense 2. Offenses 3. bitterness 4. faults 5. forgive 6. vengeance 7. destroyer 8. idolatry

Chapter Two

DVD Session Two

WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER A DESTROYER

In preparation for these discussion questions and the DVD lecture, please read: Chapter 3, "Meet Cain the Destroyer"

From the Author

THE FIRST OFFSPRING in this world was Cain: "Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain" (Genesis 4:1). Adam and Eve were the first parents to raise a Cain, but they were not the last. Cain represents those individuals I call destroyers; the kind of people who can leave you bleeding along the road and walk away feeling sorry for themselves.

Destroyers are found everywhere: they are found in Christian homes, in churches, and at the office. Most surprising, some are charming, helpful, and delightfully pleasant. But when they have an opportunity—particularly if they feel that their image or authority is attacked—they will destroy anyone who stands in their path. They are obsessed with self-protection and will manipulate, threaten, and distort; yet they feel no guilt. They believe the entire world should stoop to serve them, and they let everyone know why.

A destroyer is the kind of person for whom appearances are everything. Manipulative, ruthless, insidious, and murderous, he will work against you, lie to your face, and chisel away at your emotional core until you are totally diminished spiritually, emotionally, and at times, physically. Destroying others guarantees his sense of self-worth. A destroyer can hurt you deeply yet feel no sympathy. A destroyer is actually incapable of feeling hurt for anybody else, yet is keenly aware of the emotional pain he himself carries.

Engaging the Topic

Answer these questions while watching the DVD and reading the book.

1. A __________ will leave you wounded and walk away feeling sorry for himself.

2. For every __________ that exists there is a __________ who did it.

3. The first characteristic of Cain is that he refuses __________.

4. The second characteristic of Cain is that he refuses __________for his sin.

5. The third characteristic of Cain is that he is __________.

6. Either we will __________ sin or sin will __________ US.

7. We must be __________ by the __________ that forgives us.

Opening Activity

Purpose: To provide a personal entry point for Cain's story.

Supplies: A sheet of paper and pen/pencil for each group member.

Activity: Have someone read aloud Cain's story from Genesis 4:8-16. After the story has been read, have the group members each make a list of people who have hurt or retaliated against them in a painful way. They might also include occasions where they have hurt or retaliated against someone else. When everyone is finished writing, have them tuck their lists into their Bibles for consideration after the session is finished.

Questions for Discussion

1. Dr. Lutzer paints a bleak picture of the nature of destroyers: "Manipulative, ruthless, insidious, and murderous, he will work against you, lie to your face, and chisel away at your emotional core until you are totally diminished spiritually, emotionally, and at times, physically." Do such people exist in your life? 2. Read Genesis 4:1–7. What emotions do you typically experience when God does not react how you expect (or desire) Him to?

3. Discuss God's command to "rule over" sin. How could Cain have accomplished this? How can we accomplish this today?

4. Drawing on information from the book and the lecture, list some of the ways people can identify a destroyer.

5. Read Genesis 4:8–16. Looking specifically at verse 10, summarize why the words "to me" are vitally important.

6. Read Genesis 3:14–24, and reread Genesis 4:11–12. What do these two passages say about the nature and consequences of sin?

7. In your opinion, what is our culture's conventional wisdom when it comes to dealing with destroyers?

8. How would you summarize the wisdom of God's Word when it comes to dealing with destroyers?

Going Deeper

Read 1 John 3:1–18.

1. Discuss the significance of verse 2. What does it mean that "we are God's children now"?

2. Summarize the view of sin given in verses 4–10. Do Christians forfeit their relationship with God when they sin?

3. Why is Cain described as being "of the evil one," yet Adam and Eve are not?

4. Read Matthew 5:21–22. How does this contribute to your understanding of the passage in 1 John? How does it contribute to your understanding of Cain's story?

5. What do the author's statements in verses 16-18 mean for Christians today? How can we obey?

Personal Reflection

The apostle Peter wrote what may be the most-feared warning of the New Testament: "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

Most Christians don't need much persuading when it comes to heeding this warning. We want to "be watchful," because we have been taught that the enemy is indeed out there somewhere. The devil is real, and he has real power to cause us pain. He is not just lurking in the shadows but prowling. He is actively looking for us, and he wants to bring us down.

Upon further reflection, however, God's warning to Cain is more terrifying still: "If you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it" (Genesis 4:7b). This is another enemy entirely: our own sinful nature. All of a sudden the danger is not "out there" somewhere, trying to find us. Rather, it is inside of us; it is part of us. We are the enemy, and we have power not only to harm ourselves but others. Like Cain, we can become destroyers if we do not "rule over" our sin.

Two enemies—both of them real, and both of them dangerous. And yet both of them conquered by the blood of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice "speaks a better word than the blood of Abel" (Hebrews 10:24) because it offers forgiveness and reconciliation, rather than judgment.

Will you accept this forgiveness? And if you have already accepted it, will you commit this week to exploring the areas of your life that are in need of reconciliation?

Engaging the Topic answers:

1. destroyer 2. hurt; hurter 3. counsel 4. responsibility 5. self-absorbed 6. master; master 7. reconciled; blood

Chapter Three

DVD Session Three

WHEN FAMILY MEMBERS FIGHT

In preparation for these discussion questions and the DVD lecture, please read: Chapter 4, "Families at War: When Trust Fails"

From the Author

THE FAMILY IS the crucible in which the most intimate and potentially devastating relationships occur. It is the environment in which we learn our identity and our self-worth—it is there we find ultimate acceptance, emotional care, and nurturing. But because so much is riding on the family, it has also become the place of enormous conflict. Nowhere is reconciliation more needed and nowhere is it more difficult to attain.

Jealousy, I suspect, has torn apart more family relationships than any other single factor. As a pastor, I've witnessed it more times than I can count. And by the time the fractured families come to me, the damage often is deep, and the prognosis for recovery bleak. Inheritance and money can cause deep rifts in families too.

Thankfully, God desires to bring healing. The Bible helps us with real-life examples of His provision during times of family pain. Perhaps the most compelling story about family strife is the story of Jacob and Esau. What sparks flew in that home! Still, God in His goodness came through with unexpected peace and healing. In the process of taking a look at this family feud, we shall learn some lessons about how to initiate forgiveness and reconciliation. We shall also discover that God is often gracious even to a dysfunctional family.

Engaging the Topic

Answer these questions while watching the DVD and reading the book.

1. The first huge problem in this family is __________.

2. We also see __________ on the part of Jacob.

3. There is __________ in this family, and it is huge.

4. In our families today we need __________.

5. God is at work in __________ families.

6. It is necessary for family systems to have in order to __________ each other.

Opening Activity

Purpose: To help the group think about blessings within families.

Supplies: A sheet of paper and pen/pencil for each group member.

Activity: Have each group member write a blessing for someone within his or her extended family. The blessing can either be written for another member of the family, or it can express a blessing you would like to hear from a member of the family. When everyone has finished, have group members:

• Read their blessings if they are comfortable doing so.

• Describe blessings that were well done. These might be from personal experience or picked up from friends, film, literature, and so on.

Questions for Discussion

1. What one word best described your family during your childhood? 2. Read Genesis 25:19–28. What other families in the Bible suffered negative consequences because of favoritism?

3. Read Genesis 25:29–34. In your opinion, which of the brothers was at fault? Which one made the worst decision?

4. Discuss the idea of sacrificing the permanent on the altar of the immediate. Where else does this mind-set occur in the Bible? Where do you find this mind-set in today's culture?

5. Read Genesis 27:1–40. What is Rebekah's motivation for instigating this scheme? What other characters in Scripture make decisions based on a similar motivation?

6. As a result of Rebekah's plot, God's prophetic words from Genesis 25:23 were fulfilled. Does this justify her decision? Why do you say so?

7. Discuss the blessing Isaac delivers in 27:27–29. What stands out to you as most interesting? Do you find anything to be surprising or confusing?

8. Read Genesis 27:41–45. In your opinion, are conflicts within a family easier or more difficult to resolve than conflicts outside of a family? Explain your answer.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from STUDY GUIDE WHEN YOU'VE BEEN WRONGED by ERWIN W. LUTZER Copyright © 2010 by Erwin W. Lutzer. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 5

Session

1 When You Receive an Offense 7

2 When You Encounter a Destroyer 13

3 When Family Members Fight 21

4 When You Want to Reconcile 27

5 When You're Under Attack 33

6 When You Want to Sue 41

7 When Bitterness Takes Root 49

8 When You Are Ready to Let Go 55

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