Should I Care Enough to Confront?
When someone wrongs us, what if loving them doesn't cover the offense you experienced? After all, the Bible says,
"The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:7-8, NIV)
The good news is that love usually does win out. But what if it doesn't? What if no matter how hard you try, you just can't get past it? Most of the time we can forgive an offense without too much effort and move on. But there are those times, however, that something else has to happen. God may want us to care enough to confront them.
To know whether it's time to confront, there is something you can look at to know what else is required... the condition of your heart. When I find myself beginning to feel resentful, bitter, angry, or think thoughts like "I don't even like this person any more," I know my heart is not in the condition God wants it to be. These responses are exactly what the Bible says I am not supposed to do. Instead I'm supposed to:
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." (Ephesians 4:31, NIV)
Also, because I am dwelling on the offense or the hurt that it caused, that may be another sign I'm supposed to confront. Plus, it has led me to commit another offense of my own - judging them. Oops! I did it again! God asks me not to judge others:
"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things." (Romans 2:1, NIV)
Ok, now if you are keeping score here, they offended me once, and I have sinned at least twice. Now what? Maybe I should do what Jesus asked:
"If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back." (Jesus, Matthew 18:15, NLT)
The Apostle Paul also says the godly thing to do is this:
"Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself." (Galatians 6:1, NLT)
Ultimately, the godly goals extend beyond just forgiving for the sake of moving on. "Love" would want us to try to:
Win the relationship back
Help the other person
Stop allowing the matter to cause us to sin
There does not seem to be much room for ignoring the matter or for co-dependency. If the matter is lingering and begins to keep you from loving the person deeply, and even messes with your relationship with God because it causes you to sin (1 Peter 4:8), then a conversation is required. There is also no room for being self-righteous or condescending. The only instructions we are given is to gently and humbly help them, help ourselves, and honor God in the process.
It is important that you communicate your love to the person, your commitment to the relationship, and your desire not to let anything get in the way. If you did that with me, I would be happy to hear what you have to say. Well, at least if you catch me after I have had my cup of coffee!
Grace and Peace to you,
P.S. In case you missed my previous devo, "What Can We Do When Someone Wrongs Us?", click here. I would love to hear about how God is working in and through your life. Please email me. Your greatest life is just ahead.
Are you single and looking for a way to build healthy friendships?
Check out Bridges, a weekly gathering of single adults in the Sacramento area, whose mission is to help develop great friendships and healthy relationships with God and others. Bridges currently meets on Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m. at Life Community Church in Roseville, CA. To learn more, contact Michael Baggett at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.BridgesSacramento.com.