Thursday, January 30, 2014

How To Receive Confrontation

Yesterday, I shared several steps of how to approach someone in their sin. I think many people find it very difficult to approach people they love to tell them about sinful patterns of behavior they have noticed. It is very difficult to approach people in sin.

But it is also very difficult to be approached. It is very difficult to hear that you are sinning. It is painful being told that you are walking away from Jesus. But it is something we need if we desire to follow Him.

There is a lot of information out there on how to confront someone. But there is relatively little information on how to receive the confrontation. That is what I want to share today. How should you respond when someone confronts you on something in your life?

1. Invite Other Into Your Life
The reality is that we need people in our life to confront us. We may not like it when people point stuff out in our life, but we know it is good for us. And if it is good for us, maybe we need to invite it in. We need to welcome it. We need to go to friends of ours and have this sort of conversation: "I want you to know that if you ever see sin in my life, I want you . . . I need you to talk to me about it."

2. Strive For Humility
The proud person thinks they never fail. The humble person knows they do. I don't think I have met many people in my life that claim to be perfect. Most people know they sin. They know they fail. And so if you are humble, why would it surprise you that someone wants to talk to you about your sin?

3. Ask For Specifics
Ask them to be very specific in what they see in you. Ask them to open God's Word with you and point out the sin clearly. The point is that you want to make sure you understand them correctly. Now, there is a way to ask for specifics that is godly and one that is sarcastic. Obviously, I am saying the godly way. And it is manifested through the rest of these responses.

4. Resist Arguing
It can be true that the best thing you can do when someone confronts you is to remain silent. Thank them for their input in your life and don't respond until you have had time to think about it. Sometimes it is helpful to remain silent because the natural reaction is to fire back at them. It is to argue. If you find yourself wanting to argue, then there is probably some guilt somewhere in your heart.

5. Resist Pointing Out Their Sin
When someone comes to point something out in your life, the ungodly response is, "Well, you think I sin? Do I have something to talk to you about." That is not going to be helpful. It is deflecting. I usually go by a simple rule. If someone is talking to me about my sin, it is not the time to talk to them about their sin. I just don't trust myself to not make it more about them than about the ways I have offended my God.

6. Listen With Thankfulness
You may not feel thankful in the moment, but you should. Proverbs says it is the faithful friend who wounds you. It means they love you. Take them at face value. Don't read into their motives. And be thankful that they cared enough to help you see the ways you are walking away from Jesus.

7. Be Willing To Change
If it is sin, be ready to run from it. If you have hurt them, be quick to apologize. I am constantly amazed when people resist apologizing. I just don't get what kind of pride it takes to never admit you are wrong. If they are pointing out sin, then run from it.

8. Ask For Follow-Up
Ask them to follow up with you at a later point. This might be needed simply because you may need time to think about what they have told you. Or it could be that you simply need help in the repentance process.

9. Look For The Truth In Their Confrontation
It is possible that they were misguided in their confrontation. Maybe you did not sin. Maybe you did not mean to offend them. Maybe they completely missed it. But my guess is that there is something you can learn from the interaction you had with them. 

Being confronted can be painful. Being pursued is not fun. But it is for our good and we need to learn how to respond biblically. I hope these steps help. 

Are there things you like to do when you are confronted that I did not address? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

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