Last week we discussed how we are to judge people1. This is something that is encouraged in Leviticus 19:15-19, Proverbs 9:8, 27:5-6, 31:9. Leviticus 19:16 even goes onto say “…don’t stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is at stake…” Basically, don’t be an enabler2 by allowing somebody to stay within their own sin. Conversely, Leviticus 19:18 tell us to not take vengeance or bear a grudge on the guilty party but to love them. Way too many people think that they have to be mad at someone in order to confront an issue, in Leviticus the opposite is true. Remember, they maybe in sin, but depending on how you handle yourself you might also become guilty of sin. Here are four biblical steps that will help you help your brother while keeping in God’s graces.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1)
Create the right setting: Far too many times we unleash our criticism when we are angry. In anger, we can usually justify scolding another person. However, these confrontations turn into our need to vent, which becomes our transgression (Ecclesiastes 7:9, Psalms 37:8, Proverbs 15:1,18, 19:11).
Select a time and place to talk with them. Select a place that is not public and a time that will facilitate the best opportunity for reflection. It is better to talk to somebody at the end of the day before their drive home verses before they start a new project. Likewise, talking to a family member in the car on a drive is the best environment. It makes them a captive audience and gives you a better opportunity for dialog.
There may not always be time for the best location, so do the best possible.
- Focus on the Issue:
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11)
Focus on the sin and not the person, …don’t make it personal. For example, it is better to state:
“I don’t think that action reflects who you really want to be as follower of God”
“That sin makes you (lazy, a liar, a thief, a hypocrite, a gossip …etc.)
Although shaming someone might feel that it is within your rights, it is not Godly and therefore counterproductive (Proverbs 12:4, Leviticus 25:17)
A technique is to start with a compliment, this will make your counselee more receptive and put you in a more productive mindset.
- Be specific:
“When words are many, sin is not lacking; so he who controls his speech is wise” (Proverbs 10:19)
Some people spend so much time softening the blow that the point either is missed or made unimportant. Get straight to the point by being direct, yet nonabrasive. Rehearse it in your head first.
Make it about God, not about your opinion. Address where the violation is at in scripture, preferably more than one verse.
“… The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20)
Address how we are all accountable for your own actions. A good example of this is how God tells Cain that he is responsible for mastering over his own sin (Genesis 4:7).
At the end of the day you are not responsible for them being in denial. However, if their sin will physically harm somebody you do have a responsibility to warn possible victims (Leviticus 19:16). However, as painful as it would be, make sure the wrongdoer knows your intentions (Proverbs 11:13, 20:19, 25:9), this could cause a possible deterrent.
Confrontation should not be impulsive. If it is, it may only solve your frustration for a moment but the issue may still persist. Taking the time out to do it so that the real concern becomes addressed, is an investment that will yield better results. Just remember “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18).