Not Alone: A Study on Friendship Meeting Online

In light of Shoreline’s recent announcement to discontinue all events for the next two weeks, Women’s Bible Study will not be gathering in-person for the remainder of the study. If you have any questions about this, watch the video explanation from Pastor Kevin on this subject.
 
We encourage you to meet with your groups virtually to review the homework and video discussion questions listed below. All of our sessions are available through RightNow Media.  Please create a free account with RightNow Media to view the videos for each week. To create an account with RightNow Media please register here (https://shoreline.church/rightnow-media/). For questions or more information, contact womensbiblestudy@shoreline.church.
 
We encourage you as groups to pray for each other during this time. If you would like additional prayer, please call the office at (831) 655-0100 or email womensbiblestudy@shoreline.church.

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Toxic Friendship

Homework Questions:

  1. Are you feeling drained, depleted, stressed, or angry in a friendship?
  2. If so, what boundaries are you needing to set with your friend and within yourself?
  3. Read these verses to remind you of the never-failing presence of God:  Psalm 46:10, John 14:27, 1 Peter 5:6-7.

 

Video Discussion Questions:

  1. In the video, Melissa mentioned her husband’s often-used phrase: “I love you more than I want to be right.” Take some time to unpack what that means.
  2. Within your group, discuss the steps needed to rebuild broken trust.
  3. In Acts 15:39-40, we see that the Apostle Paul disagreed with Barnabas over John Mark. What does this passage show us about our ability as believers to get into conflict? Read 2 Timothy 4:11. What does the fact that John Mark and Paul were reconciled say about our ability to restore our friendships?
  4. Amena reads Matthew 18:15-16 in the video, and day five of the reading references Matthew 18:21-35. Take time to walk though this passage and take note of the repetitive nature of the process of forgiveness. In your experience, what can get in the way of forgiving again and again?
  5. In the video, Veronica reached out for Millie during a vulnerable time, without a response. Explore the steps that they took toward renewing their friendship. How do their steps reflect biblical reconciliation and forgiveness?

 

Reflection Questions:

  1. What is your communication style? How do you respond to conflict? Ask your friends to answer these two questions. Take time to listen to how your communication style affects them (listen for the positive, not just the negative!).
  2. Amena challenged us to consider if there are conversations that you need to have with certain friends because you feel tender, angry or hurt? What would it look like to reach out to that person to rebuild broken trust?

Homework Questions:

  1. To be intentional as Christ was intentional, we need to spend time with him.  Plan how you will do that this week.
  2. Do you tend to be the friend who asks questions, or the one who answers them?
  3. What are some ways you can be intentional with one or two of your friends this week?
  4. In the rhythms of your life, what does it look like to be a dependable friend?
  5. Can you be friends with a person whom you don’t empathize with?  Who doesn’t empathize with you?
  6. Which is harder to do in your friendships; practice humility or share struggles?  Why?

 

Video Discussion Questions:

  1. In the video, Amena talked about the time that she could not hold space for her friend’s vulnerability and instead, she offered a surface-level response. When has this ever happened to you? When have you ever been the person who didn’t hold space? How did the situation resolve?
  2. Discuss how to distinguish between temporary moments of jealousy, competition, or neediness, and a consistent pattern of those attitudes. When friendships are toxic, it is okay to create a boundary. What does it look like for you to set up a boundary in a friendship?
  3. How does codependency erase another person? Can the account of blame in Genesis 3 speak to this? (For example, whom did the woman or the man blame for her/his choices? What would it have looked like to take that responsibility?)
  4. In the video, Lauren talked about the fact that we are “embodied souls,” which means we honor a person’s race, ethnicity, age, etc. Discuss where that idea comes from (the creation of humanity, the incarnation of Christ, embodied in a certain place to a specific people, the Acts 2 establishment of a multilingual church, Revelation 7:9 are all some examples of where to look).
  5. Ghosting is painful. Read Psalm 46:10, John 14:27, and 1 Peter 5:6-7 from the study’s reflection question. Discuss God’s assurances.
  6. Lauren also talked about the “rotten fruit” of toxic behavior in Galatians 5:19-21. In what ways are these characteristics different from the fruit of the Spirit?
  7. Discuss the tactics you use in order to discern whether you are experiencing conflict or the dissolution of a friendship.
  8. Have you displayed toxic practices in your friendships? You’re not hopeless. This may be a great time to consider counseling, seeking forgiveness, and asking God and other trustworthy people for guidance on the journey to healthy relationships. 
  9. The way we respond to conflict affects our relational health. Evaluate yourself: are you conflict-avoidant? Do you feel the burden to reconcile all the time, even without resolving conflict?
 
 
 Reflection Questions:
 
  1. Take time to examine yourself. Do you welcome a friend by loving her fully as she is, as Amena mentioned in the video?
  2. If you are struggling with toxicity in your friendships, what could you do to seek help this week?
 

Homework Questions:

  1. This week, the study talked about the profile of good friends. They are humble, transparent, discerning, empathetic, and intentional. Which attribute stood out to you as you read this week? Why?
  2. Which friendship from the Bible resonated with you the most? Why?
  3. When does a person transition from being an acquaintance to a friend?
  4. Do you think about what role, if any, God plays in your friendships?
  5. Most of the time, “commitment” is a word we hear mostly in reference to marriages, and maybe parenting. Have you considered committing to your friends? What would that look like?
  6. Where are some ways that we can intentionally cultivate trust in our relationships?
 

After discussing the homework sessions, consider taking a break so everyone can watch the video, then continue your discussion below.

Video Discussion Questions:

  1. Take time to reflect on the following passages about humility in your group. Matthew 18:4; Luke 14:11; Philippians 2:8; James 4:6. In what ways does humility reflect God’s character and affect friendships?
  2. In the video, Amena talked about the fruit of the Spirit being a great marker for the quality of our friendships. Read Galatians 5:22-23 and discuss the characteristics described in the passage. How do these characteristics translate into your everyday friendships?
  3. Read Proverbs 27:17. Discuss the principle behind this proverb and how it applies to friendships.
  4. Isa shared that the hurt associated with being used in past friendships kept her from reaching out again. Friendship requires risk and a willingness to try again with a tender heart. With that in mind, discuss 1 Peter 3:8-9 and Ephesians 4:31-32
  5. In the video, Isa recalled that she knew she found a friend because “whenever we went to coffee, we were crying.” What does it look like to “go first” and be vulnerable in your friendships?
  6. Amena suggested that we can use Galatians 5:22-23 as a quiz to assess where we are displaying the fruit of the Spirit. This week, write down the fruit of the Spirit and put them where you’ll see them. Ask God for eyes to help you recognize the fruit you’re lacking and rejoice in the fruit that you display.

 

 Reflection Questions:

  1. Good friendships take work and timing. How can your calendar reflect your intentionality in creating time for friends?
  2. Deep friendships require a reciprocal openness. Take time to evaluate: are you open with your struggles? Why or why not? Do you feel permitted to ask your friends about areas of struggle or growth? Why or why not?
Shoreline Church

Shoreline Church