INSTRUCTIONS: Spark conversations about biblical truth by discussing the “News Nugget” below. Bring it up in conversation, as a discussion-starter at the beginning of your gathering, as a small-group discussion-starter, or as part of a Bible study. Add any additional information and new developments. Then discuss the event or story through the lens of one or more biblical themes. You can even send these discussion-starters to your teenagers as catalysts for conversations with friends and family.
News Nugget: In a sermon this week, Pope Francis suggested it’s better to be an atheist than to call yourself a Christian yet be greedy, deceitful, and engage in “scandal.” He defined that term as “saying one thing and doing another,” and pointed to business owners who take lavish vacations while shortchanging their employees. Pope Francis said he pictures a wealthy Christian at heaven’s gates saying: “Here I am, Lord! … I went to church, I was close to you, I belong to this association, I did this…. Don’t you remember all the offerings I made?” And he pictures Jesus responding, “Yes, I remember. The offerings, I remember them: All dirty. All stolen from the poor. I don’t know you.” The pope said, “That will be Jesus’ response to these scandalous people who live a double life.”
Themes to Explore:
- False disciples (see Matthew 7:21-23; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
- Stumbling blocks (see Matthew 18:6-9)
- Scandalous grace (see John 8:1-11)
- All Christians struggle with the temptation to sin, fueling “scandalous behavior” from the inside out. What’s one way that Jesus has been changing you inside that has resulted in an outward change?
- If we know certain behaviors are wrong, why do we continue to do them or justify them to ourselves? In what ways have you seen your own behaviors significantly influence others in your circle, for good or bad? What’s something you feel convicted about, that you could ask Jesus to give you the strength to change?
- What makes Jesus’ grace so scandalous, and why do some people have such a tough time accepting it? How have you—and your friends and family—experienced Jesus’ grace in your life, and what impact has it made?