The person being addressed, including me, was in fact doing something contrary to scripture and the right thing to do was to tell them about it. It was the approach that was wrong because it wasn’t being done in love.
Ephesians 4:15-16 NIV Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Speaking the truth in love isn’t about winning an argument or using the Bible to attack others’ beliefs. It is about lovingly guiding people back to Scripture so the Body of Christ can be built up in the knowledge of God, equipped to minister for God’s glory. The truth may offend, but our delivery doesn't have to be offensive. We want to see others walk in the truth so that we can see lives changed and the gospel go forth. Truth divides, but we don't to be divisive with our words as if we are trying to prove ourselves right. It's not about us being right. God is the one who's right.
I know that it can be intimidating to stand up for and speak the truth. It often makes us uncomfortable because we don’t want to come across as someone who is a “know it all” or a lover of confrontation. Yet, we show love for God and show love to others by pointing them to the truth found in God’s Word. We need God's help to do it right.
I led a study of the life of David and there was an occasion when Nathan, who was a friend of David and a prophet, had to confront David with the truth of his sin in committing adultery with Bathsheba and then orchestrating her husband’s murder. Just think for a minute Nathan was given the task, by God, of confronting David, the king who could have had him killed, with his sin. In the study we learned how to confront others, especially other Christians with truth. Here’s what we learned.
If God has called you to be His messenger, then do it skillfully and do it humbly. Do it right or don’t do it. If God calls you to be a confronter, confront. People still long for, hunger for the message of God. When you encounter an individual who has willfully stepped onto the wrong path, face it with them. Call it what it is. At the right time and in the right way but do it! Don’t hedge. Don’t try to redefine it. Don’t explain it away. Call it sin. And in doing so, remember that you, too, have sinned. So, stay humble and full of compassion, but speak the truth and speak it in love.
Matthew 7:3-5 NIV “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Galatians 6:1 NIV Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
When you do it the right way a tremendous relief comes over the person when someone honestly says, “You have been wrong, face it. Do something about it.”
After Nathan confronted David and he confessed he received grace from God
2 Samuel 12:13 NIV Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.
Of course, there were consequences of David’s sin but after Nathan came to him and confronted him with truth David did confess and was granted grace “The Lord had taken away your sin. You are not going to die.”
God does not promise relief from all consequences
2 Samuel 12:11-12, 14 NIV “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’ ” But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”
But He promises a relief that only the Spirit of God can give.
Psalms 32:1-2 NIV Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
To be effective in confrontation we need to equip ourselves with four things. If not, we can do more damage than good.
First, absolute truth. Don’t go on hearsay. Get the facts. It may take time. You may have to investigate.
Out of love and concern you will do all that. You won’t investigate and spread the word all around; you’ll just check it out until you have the facts carefully recorded and correctly arranged. Without absolute truth, you’re shooting in the dark. Do not confront if you don’t have the truth.
Second, right timing. Many people are confronted at the wrong time and as a result are driven deeper into their wrong because thoughtless Christians went off in a hurry to do something in the spurt of emotion. Wait until you are confident that it’s God’s timing and do it privately.
Third, wise wording. The right words are crucial. If you don’t have your wording worked out, don’t go. Wait.
Proverbs 25:11-12 NIV Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.
Fourth, fearless courage. Don’t fear the loss of friendship. God honors the truth. After all, it is the truth—and only the truth—that sets people free. If the Lord is really in it, you’ll be one of the best friends this person ever had by telling him the truth. Be certain you’re confronting out of love. One who doesn’t love doesn’t confront—at least he doesn’t confront God’s way.
When faced with confronting a loved one or brother of sister In Christ remember the goal and that is that we all “grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ”. So, ask for the boldness to lovingly share His truth with others so they can be free of the entanglement of lies and deception and equipped in and built up in His love.
Dear Lord, I know that Your Word commands us as Christians to speak the truth in love. This task isn’t always easy because we might fear rejection. I ask that You strengthen me with Your grace and that Your Spirit gives me boldness. Help me to renew my mind with Your Word. Help me care enough to speak up so that others are also not deceived. Truth matters because people matter to You, and You want to see the Body of Christ walking in truth and love so we can be examples for the world. Let the world see Your truth shining brightly in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.