Confronting a brother or sisiter in Christ who is in sin… has failed… or made mistakes is an important ministry of the Church and the Christian family. WHAT to do isn’t the point of the post… but HOW it is to be done is. Consider…
I know a pastor who for 45 minutes had to listen to five deacons tell him mistakes he made over the course of sevearl years. My friend said he eventually broke down in tears because he couldn’t take being the center of the barrage any longer. What he heard at the beginning… “We’re here because we love you,” didn’t mesh with how they were doing WHAT they were doing.
Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him… in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
So I’d like to suggest a few things from Scriputre and listening for us to keep in mind if/when we are required to engage in talking to a brother or sister in Christ.
First… WHO confronts a person is important. Paul writes… “You who are spiritual.” Indeed it must be done by people who are mature believers. But they should also be people who love the person. Love for the person is obvious by voice tone… demeanor… presentation… humility… care… grace… & mercy of conduct. If a person has to say… “Because I love you,” they are trying to justify their actions to themselves. Love does not have to be proven… it is ALREADY KNOWN AND BELIEVED.
Second… HOW a person is engaged is important on two levels. Paul writes… “Restore him,” and “In a spirit of gentleness.” The goal is to restore… not exact revenge. If a person (Or people) want anything other than restoration (Continuation of fruitful ministry and life) they do not need to be involved in the process.
Note: “Caught” is to be thought of in terms like being caught in a trap. The person is either ignorant of or doesn’t understand that they are sinning. They may not grasp the fallout of their actions.
“In a spirit of gentleness.” There are times that confrontation is revenge rather than restoration. Several of the men who talked to my friend wanted to fire him. They didn’t want restoration nor healing. When a person is confronted gentleness should rule the day. The person will be hearing things that hurt and cut deeply. In the same way a surgeon uses anesthesia to minimize pain… so too should a spirit of gentleness by used to lessen the pain of confrontation.
Third… PREPARATION before the person is engaged is essential. “Keep watch on yourself” means those who are talking with the one caught in a transgression need to examine their own life… confess their sin… and make sure their motivation is actually consistent with Galatians 6:1. They will need to have OTHERS evaluate them (Very few people can be object about themselves!).
Fourth… FOLLOW UP afterward is important. “Bear one another’s burdens” means you are willing to do whatever it takes to HELP the person be restored. Bearing another person’s burden is participating with the person over time to help them escape the sin and be restored.
Then… GOD’S GLORY is of great importance! If confronting a person is for you to “win,” you have lost. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). WHATEVER YOU DO includes confronting others. God’s glory must be #1 in our heart and mind!
Last… Keep The Golden Rule in mind. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Would YOU want to be treated the way the person is about to be treated? Would you want to be confronted to be restored, or a punished? Not a hard decision to make is it?
In conclusion, if/when you have to talk with a person about a difficult situation… keep Galatians 6:1-3 in mind… for God’s glory.