February 3, 2014
READ: Leviticus 19:11-18
Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin (v.17).
A woman became engrossed in a new hobby. The activity itself was a healthy one, but the devoted wife and mother soon began to neglect her family and friends—even her walk with God.
Her pastor’s wife, a friend, expressed disapproval of her behaviour. But rather than reach out to the woman directly, she asked a friend to pass along her words of condemnation. Feeling shamed and that she was the victim of hurtful judgement, the woman left the church altogether.
How could Scripture have helped this situation to turn out differently? Leviticus 19:17 reminds us to “confront people directly”. The woman had been engaging in a harmless hobby, but it had led her down a path of irresponsibility. At that point the activity was no longer “beneficial” (1 Corinthians 10:23). Her new pursuit ultimately resulted in her focusing more on her “own good” than the “good of others” (v.24).
The pastor’s wife had the opportunity to show love to the woman and restore her through a spirit of gentleness (Leviticus 19:18; Galatians 6:1), but it didn’t happen. And while the prodigal woman might have “rejected the correction” (Proverbs 1:25), the pastor’s wife (or anyone else) could still have followed a biblical, gracious approach. In fact if the pastor’s wife had simply had a private conversation with her wayward friend—rather than using a third party to deliver her hurtful message—she might not have caused her friend to end their relationship and leave the church (Proverbs 16:28).
How can we more appropriately point out sins we observe in others? It’s vital that people know we truly love them even while we’re seeking to help them turn from the wrong path. —Roxanne Robbins
Read Proverbs 17:4 and consider the caution about sharing what should be private concerns with other people.
What needs to change in your way of helping people turn from sinful behaviour? Why is it important for us to speak the truth in love?