by Sandra Allen Lovelace      @SandraALovelace      #WallflowerWomen

Marsha was frustrated. Someone she knew hadn’t been in church or at mid-week Bible study for over a month. Suspicions plagued her thoughts and convinced her Tracy was involved in something at least inappropriate and more likely sinful. Though she asked questions when she could, Tracy didn’t offer enough details to let Marsha put the topic to rest.

What would you do in that situation? Or should I ask, what have you done in those situations? ‘Cause we all face them.

Do you post something on Facebook that, though worded nicely, points out to the watching world that Tracy hasn’t kept up her religious obligations? Or perhaps, out of the blue, you text an invitation to meet in a public place to find out more.

Let me suggest that neither of these options will promote either friend’s well-being. Scripture holds the answer for how to proceed even in this technological age, and Matthew 18 may be the passage most often mentioned. God’s blueprint to undertake sensitive conversations starts with a pivotal first step.

If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. Matthew 18:15*

If we’re worried about someone’s behavior, God outlines our basic response.

Go to them.
Express your concern.
In private.

God calls for a face to face discussion of touchy topics which can carry the hindrances of time and distance. These drawbacks can be overcome with visual interactions via FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype as long as both parties are willing to maintain the connection until they agree to close it.

The LORD shines more light on such challenging circumstances in another passage. And since this instruction appears earlier in the book of Matthew, perhaps it should take precedent.

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at 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 that speck out of your eye,” and behold, the log is 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 7:1-5

If we’re preoccupied with someone else’s life, God sets our primary responsibility.

Check our motives.
Check our behavior.
Take ourselves to Him first.

God calls us to be right with Him before we endeavor to straighten out others. We often find it more comfortable to review and edit the lives of those around us than our own—a habit that distracts us from addressing our own attitudes and actions. Those who replace their investigation of others with closer self-examination benefit everyone involved.

How have you handled this type of situation?
What did you learn from that approach?

 

Sandra

 

*references are NASB, unless otherwise noted

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6 Comments

  1. Sandra, I do read your blogs and updates. I am usually inspired and always enjoy. HOWEVER, I struggle with the “pale font” that you use. Does anyone else have this frustration ? Your website is beautifully done with the pinks and blues but could the Blacks be a bit darker ?

    1. Thank you for that input, Peggy. Of course I’m glad to hear my work brings you inspiration and enjoyment. 😀 I’ll check to see what can be done about making the black darker.

  2. Sandra, thank you for this blog. We all would like to be able to say to your challenge, “Oh I would never judge someone for…” filling in the blank. I was convicted that indeed I have and do judge others way to quickly for other things. When I think I am not judging, far too often, God graciously has me look out the window of my heart to see His Lowes truck pull up full of logs. I am thankful to end my day with a good warning from Jude, “Stand guard” and repent and receive fresh grace.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Judie. It’s inspiring to know the words God gave me caused you to ponder. May His Name be praised forever, Amen

  3. Great wisdom, Sandra! I love the three things to do first:
    Check our motives.
    Check our behavior.
    Take ourselves to Him first.

    You are a blessing!

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