Small Group Studies

Bride and Gloom Week 2

What comes to mind when you think of the word “influence”? Do you think of a person who has influenced you? Do you think of someone you know who is too easily influenced? The Oxford Dictionary defines influence as “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.” We are all influenced by the people we surround ourselves with, and we influence those we spend time with. As a result, we must take seriously the people we surround ourselves with and how we influence the people around us.


Do you consider yourself easily influenced? Why or why not?


Bible Study Questions

 1. In what ways are people easily influenced today?


2. Do you find yourself thinking about the influence you have in your relationships often? Why or why not?

3. Read Genesis 3:1-7. How did Satan tempt Eve in these verses?

Genesis 3:1-7

"The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, "Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?"

2 "Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden," the woman replied. 3 "It's only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, 'You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.'"

4 "You won't die!" the serpent replied to the woman. 5 "God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil."

6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves."

4. Read Genesis 3:8-13. How did Adam and Eve respond when they were confronted with their sin?

Genesis 3:8-13

"When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?"

10 He replied, "I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked."

11 "Who told you that you were naked?" the Lord God asked. "Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?"

12 The man replied, "It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it."

13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, "What have you done?"

"The serpent deceived me," she replied. "That's why I ate it."


1. Think about your top relationships. What kind of influence are they having on you? How are you influencing them?

2. Do you find yourself shifting responsibility, blaming someone or something else, or accepting responsibility more?

3. What goals do you have when it comes to your relationships, especially your marriage if you are married?


Is there something you know God is calling you to do but have been hesitant to do because you worry it will look foolish to the rest of the world? Share this with your group. Also, share one step you can take towards faithful obedience. Then, after everyone has shared, pray together for wisdom and courage to live faithfully, even when it will not make sense to the rest of the world.


Adam and Eve focused on shifting blame instead of owning up to their mistakes. The truth is, we all would rather focus on blaming others than recognize areas in our lives where we need to work. This is particularly true in marriage. We often focus more on “fixing” our spouses rather than taking ownership of our own mistakes. We start to think, “if they would just do what I want them to, everything would be great. They are the problem, not me.” This, my friends, is the wrong approach. It is untrue. We must instead follow Scripture’s example of acknowledging our sins and mistakes and taking accountability for ourselves. After all, we are only responsible for ourselves and our actions. God never gives us the responsibility to change our spouse. 

Jesus' Message:

When speaking to a large crowd one day, Jesus acknowledged the importance of focusing on our actions rather than the actions of others in Matthew 7. Take a look at what He said in Matthew 7:1-6.

Matthew 7:1-6

"Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

3 "And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.

6 "Don't waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don't throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you."

  1. How did Jesus describe the behavior of focusing on others' wrongdoings instead of our own?
  2. What is the harm if we focus on the "speck" in our spouses' eye instead of worrying about the "log" in our eyes?
  3. What is the benefit of focusing on the "log" in our own eyes before focusing on the specks in our spouses?

Steps to Focus on Our Mistakes Instead of Others' Mistakes:

If we want to follow Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 7 and get rid of the “logs” in our own eyes, we have to take steps to remove these logs. The word we often use to describe these steps is repentance. Repentance involves two steps: confessing our sins and living differently.

  • Confessing our sins:

If we want to focus on our actions and mistakes, we must first confess our sins. This means acknowledging our sins and apologizing for our mistakes. One of the people in Scripture who often confessed His sins was David. Take a look at part of David’s confession in Psalm 51.

Psalm 51:1-7

" Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. 2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. 3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. 4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. 5 For I was born a sinner- yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. 6 But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. 7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow."

1. What about David’s confession to God in these verses stands out?

2. Why is confession vital, both for ourselves and our relationships?

  • Live differently:

The second part of repenting is changing the way we live. After all, if we confess our sins and mistakes but keep living the same way, one will certainly doubt that we are genuinely sorry. When we do this, we are the classic hypocrite. So we have to live differently if we want real change to happen. That is John the Baptist’s message to Pharisees and Sadducees who came to watch him baptize people one day. Take a look at His brutal but true words to them where he chastised them for not following confession with the right attitude in Matthew 3.

Matthew 3:1-10

"In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, 2 "Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near." 3 The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, "He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord's coming! Clear the road for him!'" 4 John's clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. 5 People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. 6 And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. "You brood of snakes!" he exclaimed. "Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. 9 Don't just say to each other, 'We're safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.' That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 10 Even now the ax of God's judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire."

  1. Summarize John’s message to the Pharisees and Sadducees in these verses?

  2. How are our words of confession and actions connected?


Now that we have taken a deep dive into what Scripture says about focusing on ourselves and our sins and mistakes rather than the sins of others, let’s take a few moments to reflect, particularly on how this teaching impacts our relationships with our spouses.

  1. Do you focus more on how your spouse should change their behavior? Or do you pay attention to and address how your own behavior needs to change?

  2. Why is taking ownership of your mistakes more effective than trying to convince your spouse to change their behavior?

  3. What is one area of your marriage that you need to take ownership of sinful behavior or mistakes?

  4. What areas do you need to stop expecting your spouse to change and quit withholding love for them until they do? 

Hopefully, you have all shared areas of your lives where you need to take ownership. Your challenge this week is to take that ownership. Acknowledge your sins and mistakes, say “I am sorry” to God, your spouse, and anyone you have hurt, and live differently. You cannot control anyone around you, but you can take responsibility for yourself. God doesn’t expect you to change the behavior of anyone else.

MONTHLY MEMORY VERSE (Available for download on Sagebrush App)

"Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later." Romans 8:18