Confront

<<challenge, face up to>>

“Preach the Word; reprove, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim 4:2). Moral strength, courage and uncompromising proclamation of the truth can set people free. It will certainly bring life and freedom to those who respond correctly to deficiencies in their spiritual practice. Jesus preached some hard messages and many stopped following Him (Jn 6:60-69). However, the gospel when preached with honesty and integrity continues to bring countless millions into the Kingdom of God through salvation (Rom 1:16).

It is important to understand the subsequent Christian walk of discipleship always involves individual confrontation as an ongoing process, tackling one area of ungodliness after another. We cannot enter, or progress in the Kingdom of God without being confronted by the need to repent of sin, deal with habits, change attitudes and behaviours that are contrary to the will and purposes of God. Sometimes that confrontation or conviction comes direct from the Holy Spirit through our conscience, especially in matters of thoughts and attitudes while in the area of outward behaviour this correction also from our concerned brothers and sisters in Christ, done in love with an attitude of humility, aware that everyone has areas that need to be addressed (Gal 6:1). 

Walking away from or ignoring problems or issues will not solve or make them go away. Change comes by challenges, addressing the area of concern,
and having some form of accountability.

The goal of confronting is not punishment but reconciliation and restoration for “God has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation” – the process of making compatible with others and God (2 Cor 5:19). The person is okay, it’s their action that is faulty, so address the issue, don’t attack the person. It looks for the good within and draws that out to bring

     Confront in love and humility,                          desiring godly change

self-initiated healing and Biblical solutions. This approach does not ignore the sin, but through repentance and forgiveness focuses on the cleansing and restoration not punishment. At the cross, Jesus dealt with the punishment issue. The ‘honouring Christ’ in the life of one who has slipped is contrasted with the normal disciplinary reaction approach that rejects the person, brings shame, alienates from what can bring healing and kills future dreams by focusing on the sin, how they disobeyed and punishment. This blinds the person so they forget who they are and consequently their understanding of Christ is distorted and obscured. It’s now more than ever they should have an awareness of His love, mercy and willingness to forgive. The response of Jesus to the woman caught in adultery was different to the custom of stoning her to death – He extended mercy and empowered her to change. “I don’t condemn, go and change your lifestyle” (Jn 8:11). Instead of being quick to throw stones at those overtaken in a sin, we should learn to minister the heart of Jesus to those who need His life. The church has traditionally adopted the world’s mindset to withhold love and inflict more anguish when a mistake has been made, instead of ministering the love and mercy of God as demonstrated by the Good Samaritan whose example we are to follow by “Going and do likewise” (Lk 10:27-37). We all have areas of behaviour that need discipline and restoration yet our focus should be more on Him and His life within, not the sin that entangles us (Heb 12:1).

Confronting should be done because of a discrepancy between their behaviour and the Bible’s standard, not over a personal dislike. The outward or public behaviour that must be confronted when it is evident in a professing believers life are those which are committed by those who the Bible declares will not inherit eternal life with several places in the Bible listing such blantant activities (1 Cor 6:9,10; Gal 5:19,20; Tit 3:10,11).  A key part of coming to know God is to genuinely address sin, acknowledging, confessing and turning from it, not making excuses, compromising or justifying wrong behaviour (Jn 8:34; Rom 6:4; 1 Jn 1:9). The church is doing people a disservice by allowing them to continue in ‘forbidden’ practices and a way of life that keeps them separated from the power and reality of the new life in Christ.

As we are all in the refining process, deal with the other party, as you would like to be, with the motive of love and honour, valuing the person and their restoration into vital relationship with God, above conformity to the rules and acceptance of the penalties when the rules are broken. The focus is not about sin and shame – to expose wrongdoing, to discover how wretched they are within or extract a confession and prayer of repentance, for although these factors will most likely surface, the centre of attention is restoration to Jesus.

If you confront someone do it privately, as soon as possible after the event so the fault doesn’t develop into a habit (Mt 7:3-5, 18:15-17; 2 Cor 3:18; Gal 6:1). Deal with issues the person can change. Words such as ‘always’ or ‘never’ should not be used, nor should you criticise, condemn or control the other person. Make suggestions or ask questions so they are empowered to take ownership for their behaviour and so arrive at an acceptable solution. When the issue has been dealt with, don’t continually remind them of it, instead compliment them on the noticeable changes and progress they are making as they grow in godly ways. If a person does not acknowledge there is anything wrong, you can’t force the issue but just continue to pray for them.

See also: accountability, change, church discipline, conflict, correction, cover-up, reconciliation, restitution/restore.

 As Christians, we know something the world needs to know. Some may not appreciate our message. Some may become angry and defensive when we call sin by its rightful name. But Christians are called to renounce error and proclaim truth, even when it feels confrontational to the hearers. When the confrontation is clothed in love and humility, it can accomplish much good (see 1 Corinthians 13:1–13).

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