If there is one thing people don’t ever want to do it’s clean bathrooms! And, a close second is being the “bad guy”. No one wants to be the bad guy. Perhaps being the “bad guy” is not always such a bad thing though. We all squirm and get sweaty palms just thinking about it but sometimes we need to love people by speaking up with the hard truth.
I’m noticing a few things lately that Christians just don’t want to talk about and high on that list is Sin. We don’t want to talk about our sin and we sure don’t want to talk about the sin of others, at least not to their face. As though ignoring it makes it go away. Gossiping about someone’s sin is never a good idea, but according to scripture you know what is a good idea – bringing it up to the one who is in sin. (Matt. 7) Now, let’s not get carried away and see ourselves as the universal sin police. There are times when it may not be your place but there are also times when it is. The Holy Spirit wants to draw all men away from sin and towards the grace of God. You and I have a role to play in that process. So let’s explore our role as partners with the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 6 gives us our first ingredient in grace confrontation – Gentleness. “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.” The biblical approach to confrontation must be seasoned with gentleness and the goal should be restoration. The motivation for confronting a fellow Christian about their sin is not judgement or justice but restoration. We must not take on a personal vendetta to see someone pay for their sin. Our goal is to draw them back to the cross. After all, we are in the same boat. We’ve all got mess and we better approach others with humility. (Matt. 7:5) But we have one thing in common; the cross is where we’re all even. We are all in desperate need of the cross, it’s life, it’s grace, and it’s forgiveness. At the cross we are all forgiven sinners.
My guess is that more than nought you have been silent on this issue. The challenge I’m putting out there is that we must step up and speak up more often when we see a fellow Christian in repetitive sin. “My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back …” (James 5:19) I know this struggle well. Should I go say something? What if they don’t respond well and get mad at me? Am I the right person? We can come up with plenty of excuses to keep to ourselves. But wait a minute, if we care about someone don’t we want to see them restored to living a full life in relationship with Jesus and others? Stop being a coward. If you love someone you should be willing to be honest with them. Ignoring the destructive choices or patterns you see in someone and avoiding bringing it up is how to end up the bad guy.
It takes a sensitive heart that is in tune to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to know when to speak. You can’t just rush in every time you see sin. We must pick our battles but we must be willing to enter the war. Wake up people, we are in a war. (I Pet. 2:11) Sin only brings destruction, scripture is clear on that, so it should grieve us when we see it at war in someone’s life. You are not at war against them. You are at war with the sin. So, don’t write them off, go after them. Go after them with grace. And, don’t be so bound by their failures that you forget to see their potential in God’s redemptive plan.
Stick With It
Once you decide to confront someone about their sin take this into account – be willing to invest in the redemptive process. Some sins can be confronted, confessed, and forgiven without much aftermath. Those are the kind of sins you and I should limit our lives too. But sometimes the sins you confront have grown into addictions. This means that a one-time conversation is not adequate. Are you willing to stick with someone for the long haul? Are you committed to living out grace in someone’s life for a season? Don’t get in someone’s face with grace unless you are willing to see their sin redeemed.
One of the greatest joys as a Christian is being part of God’s transforming work in the life of another. True confrontation over sin is not an announcement it’s a relationship. You can’t drop it and walk off. Love is faithful. We must commit to grace the way God commits grace to us. God is faithful to forgive you and stick with you even in your mess and He invites you into His redeeming work in the lives of those you know.
So…who can you go after this week? Who needs you to walk through redemption with them?