By Gabriel Allred
Okay, so the title is a bit of an exaggeration but let’s face it, we hate having to confront others about their (*gulp*) issues. It’s never fun (and if you do find it fun, then we probably have another issue to deal with…). This is a deep topic and one that cannot be fully addressed here, but I just wanted to throw out some fundamentals to add to your repertoire.
First of all, when confronting someone on a particular issue, you need to know what category the issue falls into.
“Gabriel, are you just complicating things?”
No. I’m really not. There are all kinds of issues. Some are sin issues (i.e. impurity), while others may just be character issues (i.e. showing up late or being rude to others during practice). Continually being a jerk to people may not send you to hell, but it certainly makes life less pleasant for you and those around you. On the other hand, sleeping with your girlfriend is clearly a no-no before a loving and holy God.
When confronting any issue, always do so in love and with a heart to bring life. Just like you shouldn’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, you shouldn’t discipline when you’re angry. There are times when an individual needs to be addressed in the heat of the moment, but that’s a rare occasion. I usually wait until I’ve been able to gather my thoughts and my heart, then I try to see things from their perspective (if needed) before I move forward.
And let me just say this regarding leadership in general: anytime I choose to be ignorant of something, I choose to not have authority over it. As leaders, it is our responsibility and authority to steward the lives around us. Putting up with issues is not stewardship – it is drama management. Read about the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 to remind yourself how seriously the Lord is about stewardship.
Now, let’s talk about each of these scenarios in a little more detail. In Part 1, we’ll address sin issues. Then Part 2 will pick up the topic of character issues.
Tiptoeing around sin is a dangerous waste of time. Call it like it is. Sin kills. If the person in question were drowning, you wouldn’t hint around and suggest that they may need a lifeline! You would move quickly to help them.
Speak with love. Speak with concern. Find out where they’re coming from. What opened the door to that issue? What steps are they taking to move beyond that sin habit and toward the calling of God on their life?
Remember, the Blood of Jesus is greater than their sin – any sin (even ours)! He saw it fitting to die so they might live, not so that we could pick and choose who to brush off and leave for dead.
Most discipleship these days revolves around holding people accountable to their sin and not their calling. [Boom! Yeah, I said it.]
I would venture to say that most people are aware of their sin habit, but have never been given a clear exit strategy from it. At some point, we have to be willing to walk people through their mess. Merely lobbing rebukes and punishments at them will not help.
God’s salvation plan for man’s rebellion was not to stand just outside the realm of eternity and throw judgments at us. He came to us, walked with us, had dinner with us, healed us, and pointed us to a life with Him. Take the sin seriously and love the person carrying it deeply. When we look at them through God’s redemptive purpose on their life, it’s much easier to fight for them.
To Be Continued…
That’s probably enough to digest for one day. Tomorrow we’ll post Part 2 and delve into character issues – the problems we encounter frequently and which so often prove the thorniest to address. Stay tuned…