Compassionate Candor

September 24, 2023
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Sometimes good leadership means treating everyone the same.  But great leadership that bring true justice and transformation is often more nuanced than that.  This week we’ll explore the underutilized power of candor and connection, learning to treat people as individuals and adapting our influence to be the most helpful in each unique situation.  

Group Discussion Guide 

To see the Leader Guide for this week, click here


Last week we talked about how we can have a positive influence by pushing forward, despite the obstacles. Spend a few minutes sharing how your personal application from that discussion has gone. 

After your time of connecting, begin your meeting with prayer. 

Key Verse for the Week

*Read this verse to your group first, then encourage the practice of memorization through the week.  

Proverbs 16:21 

“The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant words are persuasive.” 

**When practiced consistently, memorizing Bible verses can be an important spiritual practice that centers your mind around the truth that God has given us. 

Opening Thought 

When it comes to telling the truth, we can often go to one of two extremes. We can either keep silent and keep things to ourselves while letting it be someone else’s problem, or we can choose to tell the truth in order to cast harsh judgement on someone that benefits us and not them. Admit it, we’re often a mess at this! Thankfully, Jesus gives us a great model on using the perfect mix of real candor, or real truth-telling, and compassion to be a benefit to others.  

This leads us to our big idea for the week:  

Big idea for the week
Following Jesus’ example, we can become people who partner truth with authentic connection. 


Take about 5-10 minutes to discuss a few of the following questions. Afterwards, move into the unpack section: 

  • Why is it necessary to tell the truth to those around us? What purpose is there to being sincere in our interactions with others?  
  • What usually prevents you from telling someone the truth, even when they’d benefit from hearing it? 
  • Share an example of when you told someone a truth that was hard, and it ended up working out to be a positive thing? 


Go around your group and have someone read each of the following verses, then discuss the connected questions. 


1 Corinthians 13:4-6 

1 Peter 1:22 


  • What do compassion and love have to do with telling someone the truth?  
  • How can compassionate truth-telling be an example of modeling God’s heart well in your relationships and communities? 

**The next two sections of verse we are going to read provide two different examples of how Jesus showed compassionate candor to those he spoke with. Pay close attention to the difference in tone Jesus uses in each interaction. 


Luke 13:10-13 


  • Verse 12 from this section reads, “When Jesus saw her, he called her over…” Why do you think Jesus did this? How does Jesus show compassion in the way he speaks truth to this woman? 
  • How does Jesus’ interaction with this woman challenge you to act? 


Luke 13:14-17 

**In the verses we just read, the leader of the synagogue was using a common tactic of that day by debating with Jesus because he doing a healing on the Sabbath (the day God established for his people to rest). See, the law was viewed as a type of “fence” in Hebrew thought. God’s intended rationale was that if his people didn’t cross the “fence” (the law given), they wouldn’t come into contact with and, therefore, violate the true offense within the fence. Therefore, the heart of the law concerning the Sabbath was to keep the Sabbath holy and set-apart and avoid getting distracted from focusing on God. The synagogue leaders had missed the point of the law, however, instead considering all work on the Sabbath to be sinful. Jesus knew this and responded to the leader in the same debating style the leader was used to as a result. 


  • Why do you think Jesus responded in these verses this way? What factors could cause him to interact with the leader how he did?  
  • How was Jesus compassionate in how he spoke truth to this synagogue leader? How can we learn from his example? 


Based on the verses we just read, there are some things that we can do in response. Take a moment to discuss these questions as a group to decide what your personal action steps for the week can be: 

  • The balance between candor and compassion doesn’t have to be an either/or thing. Actually, they can work together simultaneously as Jesus modeled for us. What’s one aspect of your life you’re going to remember this week to put that balance into action – in your family, job, personal life, and even in your self-talk? 
  • What are some possible roadblocks that you can foresee that might prevent you from putting this teaching into practice? How can you overcome those obstacles to instead act more like Jesus? 
  • It’s one thing to nod in intellectual agreement, and it’s another thing to actually implement Jesus’ teachings in real life. What’s one way you can potentially (and realistically) model Jesus’ example with this in this next week? 
  • What practical ways will we as a group keep each other accountable in our action steps this week?  


Read this to your group and then move to the Prayer and Verses section. 

How often do we say to ourselves, “I don’t want to offend them,” or, “I don’t want to rock the boat so I’ll just let things be”? Yet, we also know that all good revolutions, social or organizational changes happen when driven people of conviction speak up when no one else will due to fear or self-inadequacy. What prompts this innate human drive for justice is a God-given yearning we all have within us. Many will feel the need to speak up and defend the oppressed or struggling, but then stuff it down in silence due to various self-made justifications. That’s human, after all. But, Jesus calls us to act beyond our fallen nature to avoid and to instead engage for the community’s benefit. By following Jesus’ example, we can engage with honest truth-telling, yet do so with the compassion of the Father’s heart. When we do this, we benefit the community and ourselves, as well as bring glory to God through our interactions with others. This is one element among many where the rubber hits the road in living as an authentic Jesus follower. 

Prayer and Verses 

Ask for prayer requests and conclude your time with prayer then share the Key Verse for the Week and Daily Devotional Verses with the group. 

Daily Devotional Verses  

Use the S.O.A.K. method to reflect on the verses below. 

Scripture: Read the verses several times. Reading out loud can be helpful as well. 
Observation: What can you see about the scripture you read? 
Application: What is God wanting you to believe, do, or feel, based on what you have read? 
Kneel in Prayer: This is a chance to talk to God about what you have read and ask him for help in living out what you’ve learned. 

Day 1: 2 Timothy 2:15 

Day 2: Ephesians 4:25 

Day 3: James 3:17 

Day 4: Luke 6:31 

Day 5: Proverbs 12:17 

Day 6: Proverbs 21:3 

Key Verse for the Week:  

Proverbs 16:21 

“The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant words are persuasive.”