Last week, I received one of the most encouraging emails I’ve ever received.
It came from a friend whom I hadn’t seen or spoken to for some time. Actually, I say “friend,” but for quite awhile, our relationship hadn’t been on good terms.
The situation was that he was making some critical decisions in his life that were absolutely contrary to God’s Word – and I confronted him about this. From that point on, I was no longer a part of his life.
Confronting a brother or sister in Christ over their sin is one of the toughest things to do. And yet, if we truly love the person, we’ll take that risk. Colossians 3:16 says to “admonish one another with all wisdom.” To “admonish” means to “warn, to put in mind, to caution or reprove gently.”
Of course, we don’t want to be busy-bodies, but I’m afraid the Church today has largely gone to the other extreme by failing to admonish those who are practicing sin.
Here are some practical suggestions on admonishing others:
1. Make sure your admonition is based on Scripture, not just your personal beliefs, preferences or opinions.
2. Before admonishing someone, make sure you’re not guilty of the same problem.
3. Pray for the person, and yourself, before you go to him.
4. Pray about the right time and place to approach the individual.
5. Approach the person privately.
6. Make sure your actions are properly motivated.
7. Admonish gently.
8. If the person is receptive, be willing to journey with him through the process of untangling himself from the sin.
9. Subsequent to admonishing someone, at a different time and in a different setting, contact him again to reassure him of your love for him.
10. Be sure not to minister shame or condemnation to the person you are admonishing.
In hindsight, I think I did all of these, except for #9 – which was a significant failure on my part.
But now, back to last week’s email . . .
The purpose of the email was to THANK me for caring enough to have confronted him. He also APOLOGIZED for his response to me and said he hoped for a RESTORED relationship. Finally, he explained how he has recently disentangled himself from the situation he had gotten into.
Isn’t that thrilling? Praise God for how He works in our lives.