Putting on the Whole Armor of God

On today’s Warriors of Grace show continuing season two, Dave discusses union with Christ and the armor of God, why spiritual warfare is vital to spiritual warfare, and why one’s view of sanctification affects how one views spiritual warfare. What you’ll hear in this...

God the Best Portion of the Christian – Jonathan Edwards (1736)

Two hundred years after Calvin published his first edition of The Institutes, Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon about being content in God. The title of the sermon was God the Best Portion of the Christian. Edwards’s text is Psalm 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but...

The Grounding of Hope

Colossians 1:3-5, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard...

Christine Chappell- Help! My Teen is Depressed

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave and Christine Chappell discuss how to walk with a teenager through depression, how the local church can help teenagers who are depressed and minister to them, along with her mini-book, Help! My Teen is Depressed (Shepherd...

To the Saints in Colossae

Colossians 1:1-2, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.” Jesus is the center of Scripture, the one in...

Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us

Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Suffering at the hands of other people is extremely painful. However, even when this occurs, we can know that God’s sovereignty rules over all, and that he working out his will for our...
Believer, Confronting Sin in the Life of a Fellow Believer, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace
Confronting Sin in the Life of a Fellow Believer

Posted On October 9, 2019

You are sitting across from a good friend with a cup of coffee as you catch up on each other’s lives. You have been friends for years and are sisters in Christ. You have shared much of your lives together.

As you chat, your grip suddenly becomes tighter around your cup. You start chewing on your tongue as she begins to tell you something you know does not line up with Scripture. Maybe it’s false teaching she is studying and enjoying. Maybe it’s a sin she is taking lightly. Maybe it’s a heretic she is following. Maybe it’s an unbiblical practice she’s embracing. Your heart is pounding, the Bible verses are flooding your mind, but instead of speaking you take a long sip of coffee and nod along.

Can you recount a similar story? Can you remember the fear that gripped you and the words that never left your tongue? The truth you wanted to speak but didn’t know how to say? I know I have (many times), and I’ve mulled those moments over and over again. God is teaching me that in those moments I need to love my friends more than I fear them and that I need to learn how to speak truth with gentleness and with the power of Scripture.

Fearing Our Friends Rather than Loving Them

We are often hesitant to speak the truth because of fear. We are fearful of what they may think, how they may respond, or how they will react. We worry that the friendship will be damaged. We believe that not speaking up is actually the more loving thing to do—if I don’t speak up, I won’t hurt their feelings, and I won’t hurt our relationship.

However, keeping quiet is actually less loving, and the motive is selfish. We don’t want the conflict, and we don’t someone else to dislike us; we don’t want them to think differently of us, so we bite our tongues. In this case, we care more about protecting our reputation rather than speaking the truth. We care more about our friend liking us than we do about our friend’s holiness.

When we live in selfish fear rather than telling our friends the truth, we actually do more damage than good. Letting our friends continue on false teaching, sin, or unbiblical practices can lessen their joy or hurt their witness. And their sin or error does not glorify God. We should be more concerned about the glory of God and the state of our friend than our reputation.

Maybe the truth will wound our friends a bit. Their pride may be deflated, their conscience may be bothered, and they may feel ashamed or embarrassed, but we can trust that it is for their best. If we genuinely care about our friends, these wounds are worth it. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” We need to ask ourselves: Are we making faithful wounds or giving the kisses of an enemy?

Truth with Gentleness

If we love our friend, we will deliver the truth with gentleness. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

Our goal is not to shame our friend or to look more holy, but to restore them. The literal meaning of the Greek word is to mend or repair something. The same word is used in Matthew 4:21 of repairing broken fishing nets. This is something we do with precision and care. We are seeking to bring our friend back to holiness and wholeness. The goal is not to win an argument, but to restore our friend out of love and desire to see God glorified.

We need to remember how God won us. He does not change or convict our hearts with anger but with love. What wounds he makes are for our benefit. At times he will discipline us in order to reveal sin, but it’s never out of wrath or condemnation. He is not out to punish us but to restore us back to him and back to holiness. In the same way, the wounds we make are to be faithful—they are to be faithful to our friends and devoted to God.

This means coming with humility. Galatians 6:1 reminds us to keep a close eye on ourselves, recognizing that it could be us in the same situation. We are not too holy to fall into the same sin or error. We come to humbly plead with our friend to change her ways and to see the truth.

The Power of Scripture and the Spirit

When we are restoring a friend from sin or error, do not forget the power of Scripture. Do not come to them with human wisdom and fancy words. Come to them with the Word of God. Remember what Scripture says about itself:

Psalm 19:7-9, “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.”

Our words alone do not have the power to do that. Our words, unless they are backed up by Scripture, do not have the power to make someone wise, to refresh the soul, to make someone righteous, or to enlighten someone. We are incapable of changing someone. God is the heart-changer, and he does so by his Holy Spirit and the Word.

We need to remember, once again, how we were saved and restored. It wasn’t because someone had the right words to convince us. It wasn’t because someone articulated the facts just right with perfect rhetoric. It was the Holy Spirit and Word of God working in our hardened hearts. Nothing could have melted our stony hearts other than the Spirit and the Word. We must keep that in mind as we come before our friends to speak the truth.

A Final Word of Encouragement

It takes courage to speak hard truths to our sisters. We do love them, and we value their friendship. We don’t want to lose that. But we can’t allow fear of man to run our relationships. We must be driven first by a desire for God’s glory and, secondly, for a true, selfless love for the person. As we are, we remember to speak the truth with gentleness, relying on the power of Scripture and the Holy Spirit.

Related Posts

Believer, Confronting Sin in the Life of a Fellow Believer, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

Putting on the Whole Armor of God

On today’s Warriors of Grace show continuing season two, Dave discusses union with Christ and the armor of God, why spiritual warfare is vital to spiritual warfare, and why one’s view of sanctification affects how one views spiritual warfare. What you’ll hear in this...

Believer, Confronting Sin in the Life of a Fellow Believer, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

God the Best Portion of the Christian – Jonathan Edwards (1736)

Two hundred years after Calvin published his first edition of The Institutes, Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon about being content in God. The title of the sermon was God the Best Portion of the Christian. Edwards’s text is Psalm 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but...

Believer, Confronting Sin in the Life of a Fellow Believer, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

The Grounding of Hope

Colossians 1:3-5, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard...

Believer, Confronting Sin in the Life of a Fellow Believer, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

Christine Chappell- Help! My Teen is Depressed

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave and Christine Chappell discuss how to walk with a teenager through depression, how the local church can help teenagers who are depressed and minister to them, along with her mini-book, Help! My Teen is Depressed (Shepherd...

Believer, Confronting Sin in the Life of a Fellow Believer, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

To the Saints in Colossae

Colossians 1:1-2, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.” Jesus is the center of Scripture, the one in...

Believer, Confronting Sin in the Life of a Fellow Believer, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us

Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Suffering at the hands of other people is extremely painful. However, even when this occurs, we can know that God’s sovereignty rules over all, and that he working out his will for our...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share27
Tweet9
Share
Pin
Buffer