If you've been watching "Eleanor's Bench," you already know it's full of important themes, such as following God’s calling, learning from your past and knowing that each and every one of us are deserving of God’s love and forgiveness.
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We wanted to share some Bible verses from our small group study guides of "Eleanor's Bench" which explore these themes further. We hope you can use these Bible verses to pray with while watching the show and explore how their sentiment shows up in your own personal life.
Bible Verses to Contemplate While Watching 'Eleanor's Bench'
Forgive Yourself: Philippians 3:13-15 (NIV)
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:13-15 (NIV)
Eleanor grew up in a tough, inner-city neighborhood. But she didn't let that define her future or limit her possibilities of what she wanted to do and who she wanted to be in her life. As the series goes on, we see her struggling to indeed forgive herself for promises and events that took place in her old neighborhood growing up.
It's easy to get caught up in our past sins and be unable to forgive ourselves for them. But through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our sins are already forgiven. Why is it so easy for God to forgive ourselves when even we cannot forgive our own selves for what we've done?
This is what our small group study says about not letting our past not defining our future:
There might be things in our past that we need to forget. We need to move on from those things that hold us back or that creep into our identity that make us someone we do not want to be. There is so much ahead of us, so many good things that God has in store for us that we must try to lose the chains, so to speak, and live free.
Overcome Triggers in Your Life: Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. - Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
Both in Eleanor's and Drayvon's life, there are situations that crop up that trigger bad experiences from their respective pasts. These triggers have become ingrained so much so it affects how they react to certain circumstances and what feelings surface when faced with similar situations as their pasts. Our small group study says:
Triggers don’t just go away. To overcome triggers, you must think back to the situation that caused the trigger and address it in your life. That might mean choosing to forgive a person that caused the situation to begin with. It can be so challenging and painful to go back to these
situations in our lives. But going back is the only way that you can experience full healing and wholeness from these triggers. When Jesus is in your life and you are guided by the Holy Spirit, you can rest in knowing that you won’t have to deal with these moments on your own. When a trigger arises, don’t be afraid to go back to that moment and allow God to heal your heart so that this trigger doesn’t happen again.
When we're able to let go of our triggers, we're able to move on and feel God "doing a new thing" in our own life. What in your past could be holding you back from moving forward to be the person God is calling you to be?
It's Never Too Late to Make a Change: Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
... being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. - Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
Throughout the series, Eleanor's courtroom is filled with many juveniles who have the potential to change the trajectory of their life. In her court, Eleanor presents them with alternative choices they could indeed make to better their lives. Eleanor realizes that she, too, has the potential to change and be forgiven, even at her stage in life. God's grace and endless mercy shows us that it is never too late to change.
Our small group study says this:
When God begins a good work in a person, we can be confident that He will help them change and become the person that He wants them to be. Our job is to surround those people and be there to encourage them as they step out and begin to change.
If you need personal change in your life, know that God has already begun a good work in you and He will carry it out. Change is hard. It means that we must break old patterns and walk in a different direction. The good news is that Jesus walks beside us and helps us to change and be the people that He has called us to be. He will carry out to completion the good work He has started.
Change is hard. But if we pray to God and ask Him to walk alongside us, then we can be successful in making that change. What is it that you feel may need to change in your own life?
These are just some of the Bible verses you'll find throughout our six-part small group study guide for "Eleanor's Bench." Each session goes along with a specific episode of the series. Download and follow along as a new episode of "Eleanor's Bench" drops every Friday!