Jesus calls us not to be harshly judgmental but to be intentionally confrontational. We must be concerned enough about the Body of Christ to address sin when it is present among us.
What We Should Do Before Confronting Christians
- Our natural bent is to be easy on ourselves and hard on everyone else.
- If I grasp how much work I still have to do on myself, I probably won’t prioritize working on your issues.
- Jesus encouraged intentional accountability and discouraged oblivious hypocrisy.
- Answer this question: Is my desire in pointing out sin to spotlight it or stop it?
Why We Should Confront Christians
- Christians shouldn’t permit our sinfulness to endanger our witness.
- Christians ought to be more concerned with the whole’s holiness than the individual’s happiness.
- We ought to know by now that unaddressed sin leads to further devastation.
James 5:19–20 ESV
19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
How We Should Confront Christians
Jesus provided a simple yet straightforward process to confront sin within the church (Matthew 18:15-20).
- Private – If you know about the sin, you approach the sinner privately.
- Partner – If the first attempt was unsuccessful, bring a partner along.
- Public – If those efforts fail, bring it before the gathering (ekklesia).
For What Should We Confront Christians
- We don’t want to be policing Pharisees that confront every time someone messes up.
- If you see a Christian sinning in a way that is habitual or seen as harmless, you need to address it.
- The most challenging dynamic is to speak the truth in love (doing only one part is easy).
Ephesians 4:15 ESV
15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
Other Scriptural Reminders
- Better is an open rebuke than hidden love (Prov. 27:5).
- Whoever hates reproof is stupid (Prov. 12:1).
- We are actually called to rebuke constant sinners in the presence of all so that it causes everyone to get scared they might be next (1 Tim. 5:20).
- Pastors are commanded to rebuke with all authority without allowing the rebuked to disregard you (Titus 2:15).
- This is not our own opinions, but we point to the Word of God when sin is present in order to rebuke (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Tim. 4:2).
- Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Prov. 27:6).
- If your brother sins, rebuke him, but if he repents, forgive him – that’s the goal (Luke 17:3-4)!
- Someone who is wise will love you if you rebuke him or her (Prov. 9:8-9).