One Life Gone, Another Life Born
It was one of those weeks. You know, the kind that cause you to wonder if life will ever settle down? The ones that create a series of never-ending questions running through your mind like the credits at the end of a movie.
News of the passing of my cousin hit me like the humidity of a southern July Summer day. Just a couple years older than me, I stared in disbelief that he was gone.
Not a week later, news of another life again, left me speechless. I became the sister to a new baby brother.
One life was gone and another one brand new, all in the course of a week, all the result of sin and temptation.
Judgment vs. Recognition
How do you confront sin by recognizing bad behavior and not pass judgment at the same time? I’ve never thought myself better than any other person, just a person who strives for goodness and hates evil.
It hurts me to see people hurt themselves or others without regard for consequences.
I know I’m not perfect. I know I have my moments when I could be a better person or show God’s love more. So how do you confront others without being judgmental?
I think the difference is in the person’s heart that’s doing the confronting. Is their rebuke coming from a place of humility and gentleness or a place of bitterness and contempt?
“If your brother or sister sins against you, go and correct them when you are alone together. If they listen to you, then you’ve won over your brother or sister. But if they won’t listen, take with you one or two others so that every word may be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses. But if they still won’t pay attention, report it to the church, treat them as you would a Gentile and tax collector.” Matthew 18: 15-18
Confronting people’s sins when you are alone with them, comes from a place of humility. It isn’t your intent to shame the person to the world, but only to help bring to light the sin in their life. This is the stage where you hope the person will recognize their behavior and make a change. If, however, they don’t change, it is time to take a more intensive approach by involving others.
When my ex-husband told me he didn’t love me and that he had a girlfriend, my first reaction was shock, disbelief, and then desperation. I approached him with a biblical view, hoping that he would see truth behind the smoke screen of temptation. When that didn’t work and he denounced his belief in God and the church, I reached out to others that I believed might join with me to shine a light on his sin. My intentions did not come from a place of retribution, but from a humble heart, deeply concerned for the well-being and health of my husband’s well-being and the health of our marriage.
Looking back on a situation with my ex-husband, it’s clear to me that I did nothing wrong in confiding in others after approaching him about his infidelity when we were alone. How do I know? Because Matthew 18 tells me so.
I have always sought answers from the Bible, as to me, God holds every answer my heart seeks to know.
Because of this, I can stand in confidence and say that what I believe are facts, not opinions. That God has given me every answer I need in His word and that as long as I act out of wisdom and use His Word as guidance and direction, I can rest in knowing that I am making the right decisions.
“Brothers and sisters, if a person is caught doing something wrong, you who are spiritual should restore someone like this with a spirit of gentleness.” Galatians 6:1
Nobody likes to be judged and it’s true, we all sin. But, there is a time when God needs us to step out and take his lead in situations where people close to us are deep into sin. He expects us, not to judge critically and with pride thinking that we are better, but with gentleness and a humble spirit.
I’m concerned about the reason for my cousin’s untimely death and although I didn’t get a chance to confront him, I wish I had had the opportunity. I would have told him that his life is too precious. I would have begged him to consider the consequences. I would have reached out, with the help of family to get him some help.
Before my brother was born, I spoke to my father about the circumstances, concerned for all involved. I tried to do it out of gentleness and humility, but the result was resistance. Regardless, I felt led by the Lord to speak out. I’m worried about my new baby brother’s life. Will he grow up with the difficulties that I faced as a child and a teenager? Will he know his value? Will he know to whom he belongs? Will he recognize truth over deception?
His name is Ezekiel, Strength of God. My prayer for him is that he has the strength of God to turn away from temptation and pride, a gentle spirit that recognizes good, and a heart that loves others more than himself.
I know confrontation is uncomfortable. I know society screams that we shouldn’t pass judgment on others because we have our own bucket of sin. But, there are times when a gentle confrontation is necessary. There are times when the Lord needs us to step out and speak to those we love and as long as we do it with a humble heart, we won’t be wrong.