Sometimes when we think about tasks that God has called us to we only think about the negative side of them. This is one reason that we either delay or fail to do them. Even when God calls us to do something, and there’s no positive outcome for us, we still need to obey. Although my contention would be that a negative outcome is never the case, because at minimal, if we obey we are at least blessed by glorifying God in our obedience.
I know there are many other positive sides to doing what are sometimes tough or hard for us to do. Many times though, we can only think about the negative. One such activity is that of confrontation. There definitely are proper ways to confront people when they sin. I won’t list them all here. But there’s a proper method to biblical confrontation. According to Galatians 6:1-10, it should always be done kindly and patiently.
We live in a culture that says we should never judge. This is part of the reason that we don’t confront. We live in this pseudo-spiritual world that says we should never judge anyone about anything. Once we understand when we should or should not judge, we learn when we should say something to someone, or just let something go. We also find out when we should confront.
Judging and confronting does not mean we are expected to call out everything that is done wrong by everyone. We always need to be focused our own spiritual life first and then others. If we are spending the proper time reflecting on our own spiritual lives we will not have much time to assess others. But part of spiritual growth is not just living your Christian life alone, but living it in community by helping others spiritually grow. No Christian ever “arrives” at spiritual maturity. It is a lifelong endeavor to be more like Jesus.
THE FEAR OF MAN IS ALL OVER THE SUBJECT
Confrontation is hard. The fear of man is all over the subject. Ed Welch has written a great book on this and his title tells us all we need to know about why we don’t confront: When People are Big and God is Small. We are more afraid of what other people think of us, how they will react to us, than we are of doing what God commands in His Word.
So if you confront your friend about something, is there a chance you risk losing a friend? Yes. Could it be that they will misinterpret your concern and only see you as a finger pointer? Absolutely.
THE POSITIVE SIDE OF CONFRONTATION
We can come up with a long list of reasons not to confront. I want to take some time to think about the positive side of confronting and the blessings we are missing when we ignore confrontation and look the other way.
To not confront a friend about an ongoing sin really is just saying that we love ourselves more than our friend. We care more about what they think about us, and what they might say about. This fear of man drives us into silence in the sin as well.
THE FEAR OF MAN DRIVES US INTO SILENCE
So what gets missed thinking about this in a positive manner is that this person does not get needed help. Often much sin comes with direct consequences. He is going to sow what reaps. So what is being missed if we don’t confront? An opportunity for that person to repent, do the right thing, and often avoid major consequences in life. To actually help someone. When we confront, and we do it in the right way, we are positively impacting someone else’s life.
The phrase, “let us do good to everyone,” is in Galatians 6:10. It is in the context of restoring someone who has fallen from a faith walk in a large or small way. It is always good to help people walk with Christ, whether it is big or small.
Let’s also think about the fact that we are missing out on a blessing for ourselves. Think beyond the negative thoughts of what may happen. Also notice I say “may.” We are afraid of the “might happen.” There could be positive blessings for the confronter, not just the person being confronted.
THERE COULD BE A POSITIVE BLESSING FOR THE CONFRONTER
Here’s how this worked in my life recently. At the time I’m writing this, a friend of mine is going through a great struggle. His sin was in an area that he didn’t even realize was sin. Or at best, it seemed to only be distracting him from his walk with Christ. As one of my college professors often said, we can be “sophisticated sinners,” so it is complicated, but the sin is not the point of the story.
It was not a blatant sin. He didn’t murder someone, or wasn’t lying through his teeth to anyone, or committing adultery. Although several people saw this going on, no one addressed it. I went to this person to talk with him. I believe I did so lovingly, graciously, and was quick to listen, slow to speak. I was able to think through with him how this was an issue in his walk with Christ.
Once he saw what I saw, he immediately stopped this behavior, and then spent more time with God. The blessings started to be poured out immediately. Not only were consequences of sin eradicated, but his time was refocused to follow God again and fellowship with His people. He recently shared with me how much God was teaching him through this change in behavior. He was excited about his Christian walk, and the freedom from slavery to sin.
Several people knew about the situation. I was not the closest friend or family to talk to him about it. He could’ve been addressed by several others who saw what was going on. But each ignored and/or refused.
I can’t judge because I don’t have the motives of the people who saw this and did not address it. Chances were it had a lot to do with fear of man. Fear that his reaction would end the relationship completely; maybe even fear that pointing it out would require a rebuttal and not being able to give biblical answers or godly wisdom.
So what was the positive that I was able to take from this? Well, I was able to watch this person bloom spiritually. He wanted to share with me the amazing things that God was doing in his life, because I was the one to help him recognize his need be freed from the situation. I’m sure he shared with others as well but he probably shared with me the most. Why? Because I was the one who cared for him during this time. I was also able to reap the blessing of, not arrogantly, but knowing that God had used me to help this person out of this slavery of sin. God blessed us both!
I WAS ABLE TO WATCH THE PERSON BLOOM SPIRITUALLY
I do not share this story to brag. I know I have also failed at times to confront people with their sin. I know the fear of man has kept me from doing what was right. But something hit me later on as I realized that often confrontation comes with blessings.
We definitely ignore the positive side of things. Too often we only look at discomfort and other negative reasons not confront someone who needs our help..
What did other people miss out on? The ability to reap the fruit of watching this person freed from sin; the joy and reward in being used by God; seeing God work in someone else’s life.
Is there someone in your life that you need to confront lovingly about sin that is enslaving or ruining a Christian walk? What are the things that are holding you back from discussing it? What are the positive things that would happen if this person repented of this thing? Because you love that person, how would you feel knowing God used you to help him be freed from that enslavement? How would you feel if you were able to help out with that thing?
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.