Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands – chapter 11 insights. | Transforming Grace (wordpress.com)
To help us overcome our fear of confronting one another and of being confronted, Tripp gives many caveats and clarifications to the concept of biblical rebuke:
1. Confrontation is rooted in the first great commandment – to love God
If we love God we will rebuke our brothers lovingly. If we love our relationship or peace more than we love God, we will say nothing.
2. Confrontation is rooted in the second great commandment – to love neighbour
I am afraid that we have replaced love in relationship with being “nice”. [p202]
We fail to confront, not because we love others too much but because we love ourselves too
3. Confrontation is our moral responsibility in every relationship
The model of rebuke is not a radical moment of truth-telling, a long list of indictments, but rather many mini-moments of confrontation within an ongoing relationship of love. [p203]
4. Confrontation is meant to be more of a lifestyle than an unusual event
Parents and teenagers have little meaningful, honest conversation, so when confrontation comes it is unusual. This will not work. We need to be ready to make the most of every opportunity, at home and in church.
5. We fail to confront in love because we give in to subtle forms of hatred
There is no neutral ground. Either we respond in love or by some form of hatred. Anger and bitterness distorts the way we see others.
6. We fail to confront because we have given in to more active forms of hatred.
Injustice hurts and mistreats the sinner.
Gossip is the confession of another’s sin to someone who is not involved. It destroys character rather than builds it. It creates anger rather than godliness.
Revenge is the opposite of ministry. Revenge seeks harm whilst ministry seeks good.
7. Confrontation flows out of our identity as God’s children.
Secure in his adoptive love, we are to align our lives with his will for us as loving Father.
8. Biblical confrontation is never motivated by impatience, frustration, hurt or anger.
9. Confrontation never forces a person to deal with you, but places him before the Lord.
Confrontation is about creating the opportunity for conviction, confession, forgiveness and repentance – to experience the grace we have also received from God.
Biblical confrontation starts with our own heart.
God must provide the love, courage, tenderness, compassion and wisdom we need. Anger, selfishness, pride or hurt must play no part in our confrontation.
Don’t let anger surface when you confront someone.
Don’t make it personal. This is about a right relationship with God not your personal hurt.
Don’t stand against but stand with the person.
Don’t confuse your opinion on the matter with God’s will. Hold the mirror of the word up to the situation.
Don’t settle for quick solutions that do not address the heart.
Have the right goal in mind.
I will be convinced that I am right as I look at a situation, regardless of my spiritual blind spots, sinful desires and wrong thinking. This bit is brilliant: Imagine a verbally abusive husband and his abused wife. The gospel provides comfort and challenge in all situations. It is tempting to offer the man the challenge of the gospel, “You must repent of your abuse” and the wife the comfort of the gospel “Jesus loves you and died for your healing.” But the actually they both need the comfort and the challenge. The man must first hear the comfort of the gospel before the challenge, “Jesus loves you and died for you, you are his and he is yours, live for him, love as he loved you, stop being abusive.” whilst the wife needs the challenge of the gospel before the comfort “Forgive as God has forgiven you, get rid of all bitterness and anger for the sake of Christ who loves you.”
Lessons to learn
When counselling, I need to always remember that the Word of God is living and active and that my opinion is powerless. If someone is open to the Word of God, then the Holy Spirit will use the word to bring transformation. If a person is not open to the Word of God then my opinions, arguments and pointers will not change that person. Feed the hungry.
I am also confronted with the busyness of ministry which leads to exhaustion. If I am not feeding on the gospel, so that my heart is prepared for ministry, then I’ll bring unhelpful emotions which will make me a banging gong. The love of Christ is the root of all good ministry.
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.