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TOPICAL DISCUSSIONS

Chris Brown on Larry King
Self Control; Sinful Nature


Main Point of Discussion: Because we all have a sinful nature, we all have the potential to act in terrible ways. That’s why it is critical as Christians to defeat the inclinations of our flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: (The following should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.)

  • R&B singer Chris Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault after a widely publicized incident with his former girlfriend, Rihanna. A second felony charge of making criminal threats was dropped.

  • On August 25, 2009 Brown was sentenced to five years’ probation and six months of community labor.

  • Brown breaks his silence to CNN's Larry King in his first TV interview since assaulting Rihanna.

  • He talks about what happened the night of the assault, the infamous photo of a battered Rihanna and his feelings for her today.

  • Above all, don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

Introducing the Clip:
Today I want to show you a clip from the interview with Chris Brown on Larry King Live. As we watch it, pay close attention to Brown’s tone and wording when he talks about the incident.

Clip:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/09/03/lkl.chris.brown/index.html#cnnSTCVideo

Key Interview Dialogue:
    King: What do you think caused you to be violent? I mean, you have to think about it. Everybody -- we all think about ourselves -- why did I lose my temper, why did I get angry over this?

    Brown: I mean, that's relationships. I wouldn't say it's O.K. I think, just in relationships in general, there's chances where you lose your temper or like arguments get heated or whatever the case may be. I'm not saying domestic violence is a part of relationships.

    I feel like that we're young. We're both young. So nobody taught us how to love one another. Nobody taught us a book on how to control our emotions or our anger. I'm not trying to fall on the fact that I'm young. I'm just saying it's a lot of stuff that I wish I could have changed that night.

    King: When you hear about all the things that the police and the reports say you did, how do you react to that?

    Brown: I'll just look at it and like, "Wow,” like, I'm in shock. Because, first of all, that's not who I am as a person and that's not who I promise I want to be.

    King: Do you remember doing it?

    Brown: No.

    King: You don't remember doing it?

    Brown: I don't. It's like it's crazy to me.

    King: You're a great dancer, a great singer, you're popular, you're known all over the world. Do you ever say to yourself I screwed up?

    Brown: Every day. Every day. I think this is probably -- like I said, it's probably one of the worst moments of my life. And I always wish like I could take it back. And every day, it's just something that sticks in my mind. And I've said countless times how sorry I am to Rihanna, and I just accepted full responsibility. But it's just one of those things I wish I could have relived and just handled totally different.

The full interview script can be found at this link: http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/09/03/lkl.chris.brown/index.html


Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
    Q: What’s going on with Chris Brown?
    A: He got physically violent with Rihanna—so violent that he doesn’t remember his actions—and now regrets his actions. He insists that’s not who he is as a person.

    Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to his behavior and explanation?
    A: We, of course, should condemn his actions—but not before acknowledging that all of us are capable of similar actions. That is part of what it means to be human, what it means to be vulnerable to sin, and above all, what it means to not rely on God.

    Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this situation to actually living out those opinions?
    A: We need to pray, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:22-24) If we sense God telling us there is trouble or evil in our hearts, we must ask God to help us let it go—“get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)


Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, keep engaging them.


For Deeper Discussion: (If your kids seem into diving in deeper, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)

CLICK HERE if you want to look at a quick training article on small groups and drawing questions out of young people—you may find much of the information applicable as you go through this subject with your family members.

Transitional Statement:

You probably noticed several interesting things during the interview—one of the most prominent to me is the connection to something that is true for all of us in this room: That we all have a side to us we’d rather not admit to having.

More Discussion Questions:

  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What was your reaction when the story of Brown’s assault broke?

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you think he can’t remember what happened?

  3. Read the following passage from the Bible:

      Galatians 5:16-25 (NLT)
      So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

      But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

      Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

  4. ASK ONE FAMILY MEMBER: According to this passage, what is at the root of our bad behavior?

  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why is our sinful nature such a powerful force? (Parents – answer you may be looking for: Sinning is as natural and easy to us as breathing. We don’t have to think to breathe, nor do we have to think to sin. It just comes to us naturally. That’s why the sin nature is such a powerful force.)

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Where did our sinful nature come from? (Parents –answer you may be looking for: we were born with it as a result of the Fall.)

  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: When have you felt the battle between the Holy Spirit and your sinful nature?

  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What counsel does Paul give us for fighting our flesh? (Parents – answer you’re looking for: allow the Holy Spirit to control us)

  9. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What are some specific ways we can fight our sinful natures this week and not end up with heavy regret and consequences?

Wrap Up:
Someone once asked the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon what determines which nature will prevail—the Spirit or the flesh. The person described it as an all-out fight between two dogs. Which one will win? Spurgeon said, “The one you feed.” When we go places we know are tempting or look at things we know are destructive, we feed the sinful nature. However, when we pray, meditate on the Bible, etc., we strengthen the power of the Spirit in us. Let’s take a minute and reflect on our spiritual ‘diets’ to make sure we’re not setting ourselves up for defeat.


Give the your family members a few minutes to think, then give them time in silence to pray for help in not giving into the sinful nature.

Close in Prayer

Written by Lane Palmer

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