Record thoughts and questions here that come up as you watch the
episode. Explore them later with the group.
Listen to God’s Word: Romans 12:3-7, 1 John 1:5-10
1. Henry shares an illustration from his own life about how he judges
himself when he doesn’t live up to his ideal. Think of a situation
this week when you didn’t meet your own expectations. What feelings did
2. A crucial point in our relationships is when we first begin to notice imperfections in other people or they fail us in some way. Henry states that maturity is when we don’t allow the imperfection or failure to destroy the good we have in the relationship. How does the Gospel help us in this regard?
3. Henry states that the experience of acceptance and forgiveness from others and God is necessary before we can forgive and accept ourselves. The Gospel message is clearly a message of forgiveness and acceptance, but even the best churches struggle at times to be accepting communities. Why do you think that is the case?
4. We become whole people as we bring the bad parts of ourselves out in the open and experience acceptance and forgiveness. Historically, the Christian practice of confession has been the means to this path. How can we recover this practice in our communities?
5. Henry states that we have to embrace the pain of life to grow, and that the pattern of the Christian life is that death always precedes resurrection. Can you think of a time in your life where an experience of pain and suffering was followed by fresh, new life? How has that experience impacted your perspective on challenges in life?
Reflect on What Others Have to Say
Underline and mark ideas you would like to discuss.
The inherent problem in the relationship between the ideal and the real is that the ideal judges the real as unacceptable. And brings down condemnation and wrath on the real… The split between the ideal and the real is one of the major reasons Christians struggle. The church often stresses such high ideals that many people feel they can’t be human and still be Christian—an incredible belief when one thinks of why they came to Christ in the first place. They came because they were sinners in need of forgiveness and acceptance.
Dr. Henry Cloud, Changes That Heal
When people find out that others struggle, too, wonderful things happen…they find out that we are all on the same path. While we all have different struggles, one thing is certain: We all struggle. And this is one of the best things that the Body can give to one another, the knowledge that we are not alone on our path of struggle. No one is exempt. Therefore no one needs to be ashamed for not having it all together. Struggle is universal.
Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, How People Grow