…go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)

This is an issue that happened to me very recently and even though the person didnt sin aginst me personally, they were sinning while ministering up front on a Sunday. In a nutshell, on their facebook page, they were consistently using bad language and this included the F-bomb. A part of me wanted to stay out of it but the other part of me knew what the bible said in these circumstances and also knew what damage they could do to those who looked up to them in church

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:1)

To me this was more about the name of Christ and to be honest I was concerned with their salvation. I did not want to come across as ‘holier than thou’ but at the same time, if they were a false convert or self-deceived, it would be unloving of me not to confront their sin. I had already mentioned it before to them but after a while, it obviously did not sink in. I then told them that I wanted to speak to them in church but we kept missing each other so I emailed him instead to let him know what I was going to speak to them about

ME:I am worried about your spiritual being and your salvation. I have seen some of your statuses and you comment on a video with the f word. It is not a good witness for Christ at all

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. (Eph 4:29-31)

THEM:alan,thank you for all your worries and everything but i dont really need somebody to keep pointing out what im doing with my life. Im sure theres plenty of people from within our church and the christian belief that use language that they are used to using in every day life.

i’m starting to find that the more a few people keep trying to point things out to me about the language i use and the way i may behave or construct my sentences on the internet is actually putting me of wanting to be around such people.

please take this into consideration and if you dont want to see my status feel free to delete me from our friend tho i will not have any hard feelings as im sure it will put your worries to rest

ME: OK. Please just read this post on my blog when you get a chance

http://realchristianity.wordpress.com/2007/12/06/how-do-you-know-that-you-are-saved/

God Bless

Alan

One of the signs of a person who is regenerated is that they embrace biblical correction and so this worried me. However, when I read this I wished that I did speak to them face to face as I think that I may have come across a bit brash. Anyway because of their response, under the principle of Matthew 18:15-17 I decided to bring in a few others before taking it to the leadership in the church. Unbeknown to me, I found out that I was not the first person who had brought up this persons bad language and it had already gone to one of the Pastors. I have now left it in their hands to deal with

Dealing with another persons sin can be very awkward. None of us are sinless which makes it harder as we will no doubtedly be accused of ‘judging’ but as Paul Washer says, when you have a new relationship with Christ, you should also have a new realtionship with sin also and therefore it is our attitude towards sin which speaks volumes

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Comments
  1. Isaiah says:

    I remember a Paul Washer sermon talking about this — sensitivity to sin.

    A truly regenerate Christian would be very sensitive to sin so much so that he would be open to listening to the counsel of others pointing out where he’s stumbling, and be broken about it.

    I think you said it well — if we are truly born again, we have a new attitude towards sin.

  2. barrywallace says:

    Hey, brother. I found your blog using the Tag Surfer, and just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your thoughts and the attitude they convey. Keep up the good work.

    In regard to this particular post, I appreciate both the courage and the humility you displayed in the action you took for the sake of your brother and the purity of the church. I wish this was the norm in every church.

  3. LaVrai says:

    You did the right thing, Alan, the responsible, Christian thing — we are our brothers’ keeper. If you didn’t love this person or cared about his salvation — or if you had let fear and the opinion of others kept you back from speaking to this person, I imagine you might have felt convicted.

    And his reaction… yes, he has not yet been converted. His first reaction is rebellion instead of self-reflection. Did he even read the verse you sent him in the e-mail about choosing the words we use to speak? Instead, his response appears that what the Holy Bible says is of no concern to him.

    He confesses that he has not truly been re-born by stating: “Im sure theres plenty of people from within our church and the christian belief that use language that they are used to using in every day life.”

    ‘Used to using…’ The biggest sign of regeneration is that we stop doing what we used to do — cause that was the problem.

    Pray for him and remain faithful. The LORD may bring him back to you for encouragement and a Word of guidance.

  4. Bill Janzen says:

    Greetings Alan,
    I wanted to comment on this to say two things.
    I have now completed my first ministry as a youth pastor at a church and from my experience I will say this:

    1) It’s rare that Christians in churches have the courage (the guts) to confront another about inappropriate behavior. For doing that I commend you.
    2) NEVER EVER talk to ANYONE about a serious topic via email. ESPECIALLY if you’re confronting them about their lives. This is for many reasons (and again, I learned this from experience). First, confronting them by email is almost inviting them to respond rudely and insultingly since people are always brave/willing to say things by email that they would never say in person. Second, something like 80% of what we communicate to others is not verbal. The receiver of an email cannot tell our intended tone, our facial expressions, our body language, etc etc etc which leaves massive room for them misinterpreting the message. And if you’re talking about something personal, like confronting them, they’re even more likely to take it negatively and respond negatively.

    To conclude: You definitely did the right thing but chose the wrong means by which to do it.

  5. Alan Higgins says:

    Bill thankyou for your comment and you are 100% correct. As I said, the only reason I emailed them is because we kept missing each other at church but they kept using the F word more frequently while still ministering so I felt I had to confront it in one way or another and that was the only way of communication that I had with them. I know it was not ideal

  6. Elder B says:

    Thank you for this page! I had been wrestling with a situation and though I knew what to do I struggled with how the person would react. Because it is very personal I wanted to keep my emotions in check and reach the vessel in love and the Word of God. Your blog is a blessing.

    Thank you for being an obedient vessel.

  7. andre says:

    Some of out congregation members went to our pastor and told him i have said some tings about him.The past Sundays he preach about it i only realise now he was talking about me.After 8 months he decided to come to me with his wife and the 2 elders to speak about my sin wich i dont think was right.I need to no if i must go back to him and ask him why has he handle this situation like this and not what it says in Matt 18-15

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