We hear a lot from people about not judging others and while this is good advice; it can be taken too far. There are times that God calls us to confront others and their behavior. This is different from judging, because judging is based on motives and confrontation looks at behavior. If we look at Jesus we see that there were occasions when He confronted people on their behavior, mainly it was the religious leaders of the day. He did however confront some others, the man at the pool in Bethesda, and the woman at the well are two examples that readily come to mind. First and foremost we need to confront ourselves on our behavior before we can even begin to call someone out on theirs. Matthew 7: 3-5 is very clear on this point. 3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘let me take the speck out of your eye’, and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Why do we need to confront others on their behavior?
1) To bring awareness. Sometimes they might not even see that the way they are choosing to act is not appropriate. When we confront them we can help break them out of their denial which is the first step in finding healing.
2) To let them know that we are putting them on notice that their behavior is unacceptable. Sometimes someone’s behavior may be hurting others and they need to know that it’s not okay to do that.
3) To let them know that we care. Sometimes when we ignore bad behavior it sends the message that we really don’t care about them. This is particularly true with our children, when children aren’t given any discipline they usually act out in an attempt to shock us into reacting. This can also play out in our marriages; our spouse can begin to act out to get a reaction from us.
4) So we don’t build up a resentment. If someone is doing something on a regular basis that is offending us we confront them to give them an opportunity to either change their behavior or not be part of our life. This may seem selfish, but really it’s selfish to keep our mouth shut and act out in other ways instead of being honest about our feelings.
How do we confront others on their behavior?
1) Prayer. We need to seek God’s Wisdom before we ever confront someone, because God knows that person’s heart and we don’t. When we seek God first and receive His guidance, we can be sure that we are meeting that person where they are.
2) With Love. We confront others out of love and not from selfish motives. We come to them fully aware that it is their choice how they receive our words, and if we are doing this without expectation then we aren’t disappointed in the outcome.
3) Choose the proper time. When we are angry or hurt or the person we are confronting is angry or hurt we probably need to take some time and come back when cooler heads can prevail.
Confronting others when done in God’s timing and following the biblical guidelines can be a powerful tool to begin the healing of wounds.
Who do you need to confront today? Do you need to confront yourself or someone you love?