043. Pointing Fingers (Part IV): What To Do About Their Sin

15 May, 2012

We all know the sins of our friends and family.  It’s so easy to spot.  They’re impatient, irrational, they barely try to please God and they listen to a whole lot of rap.

When you see someone sinning we want to make sure we first take care of our pride (Part 1), then take care of our sin (Part 2), view them with love (part 3), and finally see if we can do something to help them with their sin. So how should we approach someone to deal with a sin that you may have to point out?

GAL 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.

I think it’s interesting that it doesn’t say, “every single one of you should restore him gently”, but “you who are spiritual”.  I’ll rephrase that, “those of you who are acting in a spiritually positive way”.  Or more bluntly, “those of you who aren’t going to be a total idiot”. This verse is assuming that there is some decision making involved and it’s not an easy formula to apply.

Assume for a sec that you’re trying to point out someone’s sin.  This can get ugly really fast depending on what is said, who says it, how it’s said, when it’s said, and where it’s said. Just look at this one verse for a sec…

PR 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Wisdom is knowing how to approach it. 

Wisdom is knowing who, what, where, when, and how. Who is the best person to talk to them?  Is it mom, or dad? What should you say?  Pick your words. Where and when should you say it?  Maybe you need to wait till they’ve calmed down, or are in a different mood. How should you say it?  With a smile?  Bluntly?  With emotion? Some situations are easier to deal with that others. 

Like if someone is doing something obviously wrong like stealing sugar-free candy from children – there’s not a whole ton of landmines you can step on to make them totally upset. But what if they’re dating someone where it’s obvious that it’s not God’s will and they are in love.  Things get really tricky really fast. 

You say one thing about the person they’re dating, emotion jumps in, then they get all defensive and it becomes about specific events and not about God’s overall will. You really need to tread lightly if you are to restore them. 

It’ll take one wrong word, or the wrong tone, or the wrong time, and you’re done. And you know what?  Sometimes there is no way to get to them.  Maybe they’re so stubborn that there’s no reaching them.  But you don’t know that. 

Between praying for them and praying for wisdom, there’s always a chance.  And you have to think long term.  One conversation hardly changes anyone. If it is your place, you do have to try.  If you can’t restore them and you did everything you possibly could, you can’t take the responsibility of them continuing on with their sin.  There’s only so much you can do. It’s really tricky.  So don’t take it lightly. 

Pray for wisdom so you know the who, what, where, when, and how.  Pray that God will open their heart.

MT 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.

Take time to pray: Pray for wisdom.  Wisdom so you will know who, what, where, when and how to restore them. Today’s Fruit of the Spirit to work on: Gentleness.