Here are the questions that the students answered in their small groups, along with some answers that we discussed as a single group. The homework explanation is at the bottom. Enjoy!
- What is discouragement? How would you define it? What are some feelings associated with discouragement? How would you explain the opposite of discouragement?
- Is discouragement a sin? Why or why not? If not, what could make it go from not sinful to sinful?
We concluded that discouragement isn’t always sinful, but it could quickly turn sinful. Some things to watch out for are:
- When discouragement starts to turn to self-pity.
- When discouragement starts to paralyze you and keep you from doing what you should.
- When discouragement threatens the abiding contentment you have in God.
- When discouragement leads you to doubt God’s goodness, power, or wisdom.
- When discouragements keeps us from loving people like we should.
- Read Psalms 42-43. What things do you see that Psalmist doing that can help someone who is discouraged? In other words, what can you draw from these Psalms to help yourself, or someone else?
Some things we noted were:
- Remembrance – the psalmist was focusing on what God had done (vs. 4)
- Hope – These psalms provide a movement as follows:
A – Lament (42:1-4)
A’ – Hope (5)
B – Lament (6-7)
B’ – Hope (8)
C – Lament (9-10)
C’ – Hope (11)
D – Lament (43:1-4)
D’ – Hope (5)
We talked about weaving your thoughts from present sorrow to future hope, always trying to stay longer in the future hope.
- The presence of God – we noted how the psalmist was disciplined enough to strive to be with God. We also must not neglect the word if we want to know his presence.
- Preaching to yourself – we noted how the psalmist would encourage his soul, and try to diagnose why he was feeling miserable. We must not neglect the health of our soul.
- Community – The psalmist was feeling isolated, so we talked about the importance of being in community with people when we are discouraged.
Homework: Come up with a plan to help walk with someone through discouragement. Find some Scripture and explain a way to make it relevant to their lives.