Even though we know that we need to live our lives as light to the world, it is very common for people to live as if they were the same as the rest of the world. Jesus tells us that we wouldn’t light a lamp and then put it under a bucket, but sadly this is what many of us land up doing with our lives. We camouflage ourselves in with the rest of the world and then put our Christian outfits on when we are with our Christian friends.
It can be a tough thing when we know that someone else is living in this way. They aren’t living in a way that promotes Christianity to the world but are instead living in such a way that no worldly person would ever think of them as any different than themselves. What do we do to lovingly exhort them to live in a way that makes a difference? Is it even our place?
“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” – Hebrews 13:3, ESV
To exhort, according to the Oxford Dictionary means to “strongly and emphatically encourage or urge (someone) to do something”. And so we as Christians are to do exactly this, exhort one another, so that we do not get caught up in sin’s deception. And unfortunately those who are living like the world are being caught up in the deceit of sin. It is, therefore, exactly our place to go to fellow believers and lovingly confront them in regards to their lifestyles.
Before we go to others though, there are a few things we need to do to prepare ourselves
The Log and the Speck
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:3-5, ESV
Before we can confront someone on the sin that they are committing, we need to be sure that we are not also sinning in the same way. If we are living as camouflage Christians it will be hypocritical for us to confront another for doing the same thing. This does not mean that you have to be sinless or perfect in this area before you can confront another, but it does mean that you should not be confronting them if it is something you do habitually. Before you see everyone else’s sin problems, look at your own and begin to weed them out of your own life.
Preparing in Prayer and Reading Scripture
Before we confront anyone it is essential that we pray about it. We should not be taking our own opinions to someone and then saying that it is Biblical when it really is not. Someone may have different convictions to you regarding their Christian liberties and still be living as a light among the world. Living differently to you doesn’t mean living sinfully. So before you confront someone, ensure that you are bringing biblical truths to them rather than man-made opinions and go having spent time asking God for guidance and strength (I would also encourage you to pray with the person you are confronting if possible.
Follow the Biblical Procedure
“If your brother sins against you, go and confront him privately. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” – Matthew 18:15-16, ESV
The Bible has clearly laid out for us how we should deal with these situations. It is important that we follow the procedure as Christ instructed. We should also remember that the goal is to bring people back to a place of communion with God and not to shame them or judge them but to help them with their Christian walk.
Live it Out
It can be a very difficult thing to confront a fellow believer who is living in sin. Remember when you do so to be loving, gentle and peaceful. There is no condemnation found in Christ Jesus and we should not condemn either. Instead we should look to help one another. This should be something that is done with careful consideration and prayer. If you feel that a fellow believer you know is living in a sinful manner, don’t now run off and confront them immediately. Consider the matter carefully and prayerfully. Always remember that the goal is to serve one another and to help each other in our spiritual walks. And always remember that you should be living the life calls you to, not just pointing out where others are getting it wrong while you live the same way.