No one has ever described me as a “confrontational person.” My idea of exercising confrontation is purging who I follow on Twitter – unfollowing someone makes me feel tough, I guess. However, I will say I have grown in my ability to have difficult conversations. Along the way, God has taught me being “non-confrontational” can actually be a mask that covers pride. It is easy to hide behind that identity rather than do or say the hard thing. Being a man or woman who is tender and compassionate is one thing, yet being afraid of what others will think of you is altogether different.
Recently, God has taught me a valuable theological truth. One that I am not entirely finished “buffing to a shine” as I wrap my mind around the jewel He is giving me. It began two weeks ago when my mom asked, “What does the Bible say about that?” If you are a pastor or ministry leader you have likely heard that question a thousand times. But this time, it was as if the question grabbed my face and would not let go.
Sparing you the gory details, she was asking about how we should handle a very arduous and gut-wrenching situation within our family. In my imperfection, anytime I’m considering what to do or what to say towards people in my own immediate family (mom and dad) I tend to have a shorter fuse, forget to remember what God commands and Jesus teaches. Part of my personal maturation and sanctification is to die to that sin and love my family as unconditionally as I do my wife, children, or sometimes even the total stranger at the exit ramp.
There are a wonderful number of scripture verses and passages that teach us to love. 1 John 3:16 our example for loving others. John 13:34 our motivation for loving others. On and on we could go discussing the excitement and calling of Christians to be an agent of blessing to other people. However, what about the opportunity to be an agent of discipline?
Rarely a single one of us would take the credit for being used by God as an agent of blessing. If you take a person out to lunch, buy their lunch, and then they give you a compliment? The first thing you would likely do is give God credit. You as a Christ-follower want the world to know if you bless others, it is because God has blessed you. In our finite minds and our human perspectives, we associate the term blessings with good or positive experiences. As we mature in Christ, we must realize even when God disciplines us for our sins, that too is a blessing. Even if and when it is painful, unpleasant, or embarrassing.
Perhaps you are there, where I am. At a crossroads. Being led by the Holy Spirit to be used by God as an agent of discipline in a person or loved-one’s life, but you are stopping short. Holding back because you are anxious of the outcome. How will they react? What will they do? Could it affect my relationship with them? These are all understandable questions, but never questions you ask yourself before being an agent of blessing in that same person’s life.
Revelation 3:19, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” Our God is a god who loves us unconditionally, passionately, and perfectly. This love includes discipline and restoration. The good news? 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Do not be afraid to be used by God as an agent of discipline. Honestly and whole-heartedly seek God’s confirmation and then allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you. Fight the urge to manipulate and exploit the shortcoming and sins of a brother or sister – this post is not an excuse to kick down someone’s door. But if you’re on the fence, die to self. If you’re constantly enabling sinful behavior because of fear of the unknown, die to self. If you are staying quiet before of fear of how they will respond, die to self. Trust God will use you to show His love whether that comes in the form of a positive experience or an experience of discipline – both are blessings. You don’t take credit when God uses you to bless someone. Don’t take blame when God uses you to discipline someone.