Small Group Studies

X Factor of Friendship: Week 2


Friendship is one of the most beautiful gifts we have on this earth. Having people who walk alongside you in some of life's best and most difficult times is an incredible gift. Friendship can also bring conflict. Because we live in a world shattered by sin and pain, our friendships will inevitably face conflict. The question is, how do we respond when conflict comes? Today, we will turn to Scripture to answer that question and be equipped to respond well when conflict occurs.


Who is one of your lifelong friends?


Bible Study

1. What characteristics or traits are essential when it comes to surviving conflict with another person?


2. Read Acts 15:36-41. Describe the conflict between Paul and Barnabas. How did God bring good out of this challenging situation?

Acts 15:36-41

"After some time Paul said to Barnabas, "Let's go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing." 37 Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. 38 But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. 39 Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. 40 Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord's gracious care. 41 Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there."

3. Read Matthew 18:15-17. How did Jesus teach us to respond to conflict? What is the benefit of privately handling conflict in this way?

Matthew 18:15-17

"If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won't accept the church's decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector."

4.Read Romans 12:15-21. Summarize Paul's teaching in this passage of Scripture. What is counter-cultural about this teaching? 

Romans 12:15-21

"Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

"I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,"
says the Lord.

20 Instead,

"If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads."

21 Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good."


1. How do you usually respond when conflict occurs? (Do you get angry and argue, hide from conflict, ignore conflict, etc.?)

2. When it comes to how you generally handle conflict, what areas of growth do you see?

3. Is there a conflict that needs to be resolved in your life? (You do not have to name names.) What step can you take to lean toward healing?

Moving Forward

In the height of a conflict, we often need a reminder to live at peace with the people around us. As a group, commit to memorizing Romans 12:18: "Do all that you can to live at peace with everyone." Bring this verse to mind often, especially during times of conflict. Let this verse guide you as you seek to walk through conflict well.

Going Deeper

Our natural instinct in times of conflict is to choose anger. We want to be vindicated. We want to be proven right. We want justice to be served. Jesus taught a different way of living. In a world where revenge is “sweet”, He taught love and forgiveness. He also demonstrated it through His words and actions. Take a look at what Jesus taught about responding to conflict and how He modeled how to respond through His actions. 

Jesus’ Teaching on Revenge:

During one of His most famous sermons, Jesus taught about revenge. Instead of seeking out revenge, Jesus taught something completely counter-cultural. Take a look at His teaching in Matthew 5:38-42.

1. Read Matthew 5:38-42.

Matthew 5:38-42 

"You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow." 

2. Compare the way the world thinks about revenge versus how Jesus taught us to respond to revenge.

3. How is this teaching from Jesus countercultural to how the world today thinks about revenge?

4. Read Luke 22:47-51. How did Jesus demonstrate this teaching through His actions?

Luke 22:47-51

"But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. 48 But Jesus said, "Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?"

49 When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, "Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!" 50 And one of them struck at the high priest's slave, slashing off his right ear.

51 But Jesus said, "No more of this." And he touched the man's ear and healed him."

Jesus’ Teaching on How to Respond to Enemies:

Unfortunately, sin wreaks havoc on some of our relationships. It causes some people to disagree so sharply that they begin to view each other as enemies. Jesus taught something different. He taught love instead of making enemies. Take a look at His teaching in Matthew 5:43-48. 

1. Read Matthew 5:43-48.

Matthew 5:43-48

"You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."

2. Compare the way the world looks at enemies versus what Jesus taught.

3. How is this teaching from Jesus countercultural to how the world today looks at enemies?

4. Read John 13:1-5. Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus was present during this interaction with Jesus. How did Jesus demonstrate this teaching about loving our enemies through His actions? 

John 13:1-5

"Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. 2 It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel he had around him."

Jesus’ Teaching on Forgiveness.

For many people, forgiveness is difficult. They like to hold on to bitterness instead of offering forgiveness. This was not the way with Jesus. Jesus compelled His followers to be quick to forgive others, even when we have been wronged and hurt.

1. Read Matthew 18.21-35.

Matthew 18.21-35

"Then Peter came to him and asked, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?"

22 "No, not seven times," Jesus replied, "but seventy times seven!

23 "Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn't pay, so his master ordered that he be sold-along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned-to pay the debt.

26 "But the man fell down before his master and begged him, 'Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.' 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

28 "But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

29 "His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. 'Be patient with me, and I will pay it,' he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn't wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

31 "When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, 'You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn't you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?' 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

35 "That's what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart."

 2. Summarize Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness in this passage of Scripture.

3. How is this teaching from Jesus countercultural to how the world looks at forgiveness?

4, Read Luke 23:26-34. How did Jesus demonstrate this teaching about forgiveness through His actions?

Luke 23:26-34

"As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women. 28 But Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, don't weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are coming when they will say, 'Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.' 30 People will beg the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and plead with the hills, 'Bury us.' 31 For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"

32 Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. 33 When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified-one on his right and one on his left.

34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice."


Is there a situation in your life now where you need to practice letting go of revenge, loving your enemy, or practicing forgiveness? How can you put into practice what you learned in your Scripture reading in that situation? Share the situation with your group and how you can grow in that area. End your time praying together. Ask God to help you as you seek to navigate your conflict by following Jesus’ example. 

Monthly Memory Verse
Romans 15:13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.