021: Conflicts of Sin


What You'll Discover in this Episode:

 ​Conflicts of Sin 


In our continued ​study of conflict resolution, Pastor Jeff and Jennie Christianson focus on the topic of conflict regarding sinfulness. We are going to consider the third passage where the bible gives specific instruction for dealing with conflicts of sinfulness - Matthew 18. ​​The Matthew 18 attempt, is to win an erring brother, not to publicly expose or shame him.


​Note that ​different approaches to issues of sin need to be taken in different situations. Sometimes there is a direct approach needed, other times it will need to be handled with words of respect that are slow to point directly at the person. Nevertheless, ​it is only the Holy Spirit​ who can bring conviction of Sin. 


​Love seeks to cover sin, not to prematurely expose the person. We are there to win a brother, not to: expose him, humiliate him in front of others, try to make things easier on yourself, or to manipulate him into giving you what you want, and not to extract personal vengeance upon him. It is not a spiritual gift to bring condemnation to another brother.


We can never lose sight of the purpose of the confrontation - to win our brother.

  • 6 Practical Guidelines For Talking To Other Christians About Their Sin
  • ​1. Beforehand- Get the beam out of your own eye, first.  
  • ​2. Be sure what the person has done is really a sin.
  • ​3.  Examine your motives first.
  • ​4. Use biblical terminology when talking to the person about their sin.
  • 5. Choose the right time. 
  • 6. Choose the right words and spirit.

Resources:


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  • Kevin McClure says:

    One thing that Pastor Jeff and Jennie said that stood out to me was when they spoke about making sure that something is a sin before confronting another brother or sister in the Lord. I know from personal experience that many times someone has not lived up to my expectations of how I feel they should have acted and yet it was my pride that was getting in the way and not some sin that had been committed by them. I like how this lesson taught us that we should be more forgiving and let “love cover a multitude of sins” rather than being upset with someone because they don’t always act like us. Allowing for differences of personalities and opinions can prevent many of the unnecessary conflicts that take place between brothers and sisters within the Church.

    • Ron Dozler says:

      Thanks, Kevin, I too often have high expectations of others, of what they are not accomplishing in my eyes. Real easy to be disappointed when they did not act like I act or think, shocking. Doesn’t the world think the same way I do?. I need to allow the Holy Spirit to calm my spirit and deal with other people in a more gentle way.

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      True Kevin, that many times someone has not lived up to my expectations of how I feel they should have acted and yet it was my pride that was getting in the way and not some sin that had been committed by them. May I begin to see people I deal with, live up to God’s expectations & not necessarily mine expectations to resolve/ avoid conflicts more effectively. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Kristie Gallagher says:

      This is such an important point for us to realize. We are not to confront someone just because they have done something that has bothered us or that has hurt our feelings. That is when we are supposed to forgive. Live you said, love covers a multitude of sins, or personal hurts. This would help with so many problems within the church.

    • Tom Zimbelman says:

      Kevin-
      So many of our divisions comes from personal preferences rather than outright sin. The proverbial, “One person likes the toothpaste rolled up, the other doesn’t find it all that important” and suddenly there’s division. Yet you wrote something even more profound and difficult: being more forgiving when we are actually sinned against. Paul dealt with this in his first letter to the Corinthians when confronting their lawsuits. He said, “… Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?” (1 Cor. 6:7). It comes down to the realization of my own personal sins and the gracious forgiveness I’ve received in Jesus.

      Thanks for sharing. Hope all is well in Oceanside!
      -Tom

  • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

    Great Podcast on ‘Conflicts of Sin & I have been waiting for this teaching because I always have a challenge resolving Conflicts of Sin; when it concerns me or others.
    I was particularly blessed knowing that not every issue is ‘sinful’.
    I understood that this discussion isn’t about personality clash but about sin; if the sinner is a fellow Christian, a born-again person that we know, then, we must ‘go’ according to Matthew 18:15. The person that was sinned against is to go to the person that sinned. First step is to go & the next step is to tell the person his/ her fault between you and him/ her alone. This is done in order to convict the person & any Spirit filled, born-again person will have the Holy Spirit to convict them & if they have a soft heart, walking in humility, walking in the Spirit, growing in like Christ in love & sanctification; we will be yielded to the Holy Spirit & will hear a brother or sister that we have hurt.
    We need to be willing to communicate but it’s really the Holy Spirit that will use the words & bring the conviction but it’s our duty to go & show or tell but the Lord will bring the person to repentance. It really needs to be the work of the Holy Spirit & all counseling does is to be enabled by the work of the Holy Spirit. We must be careful not to follow procedures but be always led by the Holy Spirit.
    We must not be confrontational in following Matthew 18:15 but be soft in our approach, letting the Holy Spirit work. As disciplers (according to Matthew 28 we are disciples that’s synonymous with counseling), whenever we interact with people, we will be doing counseling & there will be different members of the Body of Christ that will do it differently; recalling the event when Prophet Nathan went to David to share (2 Samuel 11).
    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.

    • Kristie Gallagher says:

      Such a good word about going to the person in love. But trusting that the Holy Spirit is the one that will convict. We go and tell, but rely on the spirit to convict and trust that He will do the work in the believers heart.

    • Tom Zimbelman says:

      Hi Esther-
      Great points. I particularly liked how you framed approaching the confrontation with humility and being Spirit-led. Regarding confronting a fellow believer you wrote, “any Spirit filled, born-again person will have the Holy Spirit to convict them..” If we approach a fellow born-again believer and we are certain it’s the Lord leading us to do so, then our brother or sister who has the same Spirit living in them will hear our words. Good stuff!
      -Tom

    • Jerry Troyer says:

      Esther, thank you for your valuable comments. I appreciate your reviewing the Holy Spirit’s work in the confrontation process. We recognize it it the Holy Spirit that will convict, yet it is also vital that we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us before we go, as we go and when we speak.

  • Tom Zimbelman says:

    Conflicts of sinfulness was the topic in this podcast. There were a couple point that hit home for me. 1: approaching someone in humility – not wanting a confrontation for confrontation’s sake. When we recognize biblical sin in someone’s life, we do have an obligation to deal with that sin – but in meekness, knowing that we too are susceptible to temptations. I like how Jenny used a “question” approach when confronting an issue with Pastor Jeff, such as, “Do you think this is the best wa to handle this?” It’s not meant to antagonize a person, but to bring proper perspective on the situation and bring a person to the knowledge of his or her sinfulness in a matter. Of course, a person needs to accept the initial approach or things can escalate to a more serious type of confrontation.
    2: I am a big believer in keeping most issues between the offender and the offended. Most matters do not need to be spoken of to people on the outside. If we approach things biblically, we can resolve most matters between just two parties and, as Jeff put it, keep “short accounts”.

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      Thanks for your post Tom especially in highlighting the issue of approaching someone in humility. I was particularly blessed with this, and I quickly remembered James 4:6 (But He gives more grace. Therefore, He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”). we must exhibit humility in resolving conflicts and enjoy the benefits of humility in every area of life.

    • Hannah Somerville says:

      That was a very good point, “we have a responsibility to bring up the sin with that person, once we know about it. ”
      This is a convicting statement. Many times we cower in fear or let sin slide, using the excuse that God will deal with it.

      I also agree that questions do often bring about perspective to people. I think it is also important to go about asking prayerfully and humbly, as some might interpret it as making them feel foolish.

      Another good perspective: “most issues should be kept between the offender and the offended. ” This is a great tool to keep us guarded from gossip as well as keep us held more accountable to living holy lives.

    • Tim Hoelle says:

      Tom I agree with you when you identified the questioning approach as a part of the process. The idea of using a questioning approach and encouraging someone to think through their comment, their decision or their action really appeals to me. And to speak it in a way that is not accusatory or confrontational is another huge key to having a chance to be heard and encouraging a discussion and resolution. One of our challenges is to execute this and avoid the fleshly desire to “engage” in a negative way, or as you said not to antagonize the other person. It’s a difficult thing to do for most of us if we’re not reliant on the Holy Spirit to lead us.

  • Ron Dozler says:

    Good podcast Jeff and Jennie. By showing them their sin, which would be teaching them instead of harsh, unloving words will go along way in bringing them back to a right standing before God. The way we use are words in conflict does affect how someone can more easily come to repentance if willing to listen to the Holy Spirit. The older I get, and the longer I walk with the Lord, I see Him always wanting us to know His ways and have us teach them gently to others. When dealing with today’s topic of sin in someone else, there is no better place than God’s word to show them their sin and help them out of it.

  • Kristie Gallagher says:

    This podcast was the best yet. I have seen Matthew 18 used incorrectly many times. This verse is not intended to be used when someone has irritated us or when they have done something that we disagree with. This verse is used when someone is in sin. For instance if they are walking away from the Lord or their family or marriage. If the Lord is leading us to go to them or if the are in a counseling session we need to make sure first and foremost it is done in love. Love for the person to be brought back to the Lord. First before we go we need to make sure that we remove the plank from our own eye. Is their sin in our own life that we need to repent of. Second, make sure that it is sin in their life, not just a disagreement or an annoyance. Is there a verse that we can bring to them of the sin. Thirdly, examine our motives. Are we going to them? Is it done in love? It should never be done in anger. Fourthly, we should point them to scripture and not terms of psychology. The spirit convicts their heart through the word of God. Fifth, choose the right time. In private in love. Lastly, use the right words. I love the verse in Proverbs 15:28 “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer” I have never noticed this verse before. What a great verse.
    Plan what to say so that it sounds loving and choose scriptures before we go.
    As a counselor and a Christian these are important principles to know and to follow when addressing sin an another believers life.

    • Hannah Somerville says:

      I agree, these are the points that stuck out to me as well.

      It is so necessary to bring clear verses to the person who has sinned.

      I like the examples you used, such as: walking away from the Lord or marriage. I think one that often slips under the radar is gossip. As I searched for verses that might pertain to this, I found : Leviticus 19:6 and Ephesians 4:29.

      It is amazing how much we add to a conversation, when the word of God speaks so clearly by itself. May the Lord help us to use His word to cut to the heart and similaneously cover sin by speaking of His love and grace.

    • Alejandro Anchondo says:

      I completely agree. Just as Pastor Jeff and his wife said, those verses aren’t meant be a rigid formula to perform like a checklist. I have seen it used wrong too when someone jumps from one step to the next without prayer, love, or time to think over the situation. The good thing about this podcast is that they have so much experience in this area that they aren’t swayed by the simple basics being overlooked.

    • Jerry Troyer says:

      Hi Kristie, Like you, I was not aware of Proverbs 15;28. How many times have we read proverbs? I wrote all of Proverbs once and still that verse was not planned in my mind. Such a life enhancing verse. Thank you for including it in your comments. I think that verse is going to stick with me now. Especially when it comes to Matt. 18 confrontations. Counselors need to know that verse and its principal.

  • Hannah Somerville says:

    There is so much to glean from in this episode. The guidelines that stood out to me when confronting others is that we should make sure biblically their offense is actually sinful. I like that pastor Jeff said we should have a concrete chapter and verse, so that our reasons are based on what God says, not our own feelings.

    He and Jenny also mentioned that once you have biblical grounds there is a right time to do it. Addressing an issue should be prayed over and waited upon. As Jeff said: we are not trying to prematurely expose someone but seek cover their sin in love.

    We can prepare for a confronting conversation as Proverbs 15:28 says “the heart of the righteous, studies how to answer.”

    I always forget how powerful asking a gentle question is. Jeff brought up how Jenny does it with him, in an honest way. Such as “Do you think maybe this is how we should handle it.”

    I also have been thinking a lot about how different genders, roles, positions and authoritative figures should be addressed a bit differently. So we should ask for wisdom.

    • Alejandro Anchondo says:

      Two things here,
      First I also thought it was a great reminder that we should have a chapter and verse for what we call sin and what we call personality differences. It will save us all a lot of heart ache.
      Second, I also was thinking recently about the different roles and authoritative figures and how that changes how we might address someone. The Lord has convicted me that I don’t always treat older men as my “father” as 1st Timothy 5:1 says.

  • Alejandro Anchondo says:

    I am really glad that they took extra time explaining the reality that these Matthew verses are about sin and not personality differences or opinion differences. We shouldn’t treat Christian brothers and sisters who have small differences with us or see things a different way than us as though they were backsliding and in sin. When people are causing simple issues it is most like that we are impatient, self-consumed, or focused on the wrong thing. It’s us who is sinning when we take a difference of opinion or personality clashing as though the other person is worthy of rebuke or correction.

    • David Bowman says:

      Alejandro, I agree wholeheartedly with your post. Too many times I have found myself getting angry or frustrated due to differences in perspective that were not sinful. I am praying to grow in patience so that I can be the kind of brother that can listen and love without being easily offended. Satan is always looking to separate and bring about discord. Instead, we ought to overcome evil with good and overlook petty offenses.

  • Jerry Troyer says:

    This was another very enjoyable and instructive podcast. Many of us have been involved in Matthew 18 confrontation. I am not referencing being the receiving end. But being involved in the confronting effort. There were several I can thing of immediately. It would have been good instruction for me to have heard this podcast some years ago. I think it is imperative that we go in humility. Especially since we are all sinners. Yet we also have to be willing to communicate about the sin and grievances the person is committing. We certainly need to pray and seek the Lord’s counsel before we go. Relying totally on the Holy Spirit to convict the other. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict. Pastor Jeff said the Holy Spirit can work where we cannot work. We are taught that we need to make this relational work, not adversarial or in a confrontational manner. Going into the meeting with Proverbs 19:11 attitude will be vitally important. My experience has been that the confronted person generally gets riled up immediately and wants to transfer the guilt back onto the confronter. Saying something like “You’re as big a sinner as me”. That is where we need to invoke that verse in our lives. Then hopefully we can respond with grace and readdress the sin. Our goal needs to remain in tact, even in the face of contentiousness. We need to have the heart of Nathan, just as when he approached David with his sin. As we wait for the other person to come to the truth, we can still exude convicting love and be ready to guide him/her through the transformation process.

    • David Bowman says:

      Jerry, I wish I had heard this podcast a while back as well. Confrontation should not be our “go-to” when we are sinned against. Initially, we should pray and cast our concerns upon the Lord. I agree that we should allow the Holy Spirit to work in the heart of the offender. When we confront others, especially when we are the injured party, it can be difficult to remain loving and spirit-led instead of defensive.

    • Autumn Duncan says:

      I agree that going in humility is the key. I find that it is essential for most situations. I think this is the hard part for people is waiting on the right time and not rushing resolution. I used to be like that and I missed out on seeing how the Lord can work. Now, I enjoy waiting on the guidance from the Holy Spirit to help me with conflict or possible confrontation.

  • Tim Hoelle says:

    This one struck a chord with me as a result of my struggles with seeing the best in others and forgiving people. I’m grateful for the six steps listed and while all are wise and insightful, I found items two and three to be what I needed to hear. The second guideline listed is calling us to be sure that what the person has done is really a sin. It’s a very simple and some would say obvious concept, but I fear that too many times Christians are quick to confront other Christians in error. Having a difference of opinion or different preferences does not mean the other person is sinning. If we’re intending to approach someone or seek counsel for specific actions, we need not judge them. Several verses help drive the point home, including Prov 15:28.

    The third element on the list of six is to examine our motives, and I especially value the comment “first”. First as in before we do, say or think anything, our motives must be checked for honesty and truthfulness. We need to make sure that what were doing or saying is of the Lord and in His timing. More importantly we must keep the main goal in mind during any conflict or confrontation, to win our brother.

    • Victoria Santana says:

      When you spoke about examining our motives, I believe this goes along with what it says in Colossians 1:28 ” Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” Anything we do is to be done with all wisdom that is given to us by God and comes from God. This includes when we examine our motives. Sometimes we can talk ourselves into being right when we want to confront someone..especially if it satisfies the selfish need in us for revenge. Instead, we need to use wisdom, and ask for wisdom and gentleness when we deal with confronting others.

    • Ron Dozler says:

      Tim, I think people rarely stop to think “how are my motives on this”, we should we just don’t. My heart breaks for those times when I was technically right but very wrong in my motives and how it came across. Lord help us to be more gentile and loving, so that unbelievers will come to know the saving and redemptive power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

  • David Bowman says:

    This week’s episode gave some very practical tips and advice in confronting sinfulness. In all of my years of going to church, this issue has rarely been dealt with the proper overarching desire of restoration. Oftentimes, the injured party will utilize Matthew 18: 15-17 as a weapon of retribution against the sinning individual. Just as Peter raised his sword and cut off Malchus’s ear, we are prone to retaliate.

    The guidelines given at the end of the video were particularly helpful. If love for the brother/sister is not the motivating factor for the confrontation, then perhaps we need to examine our own hearts first. Also, waiting on the Lord for the right timing and the right words can be crucial in the mending of the severed relationship. If we wait on the Lord for His leading, perhaps this will give time for the Holy Spirit to convict the offender without your intervention.

    Bottom line is this: When a Christian (forgiven sinner) confronts another Christian (forgiven sinner), it is best to proceed with humble discretion and spiritual discernment.

    • Victoria Santana says:

      I agree with you when you say how Matthew 18 is misused by the church. I have also seen it used as a weapon of revenge toward someone who disagrees with leadership and it is then used to drive them out of the church. This goes against God’s desire for the resolution of confrontations being restoration. I have also seen it used appropriately and after a brother was confronted with his sin, he repented, the church gave him steps to restoration, and he was restored. How wonderful it is when we see God’s word followed the way he set it out to be!

    • Autumn Duncan says:

      I couldn’t agree more that we must seek out our brother/sister in love with the Holy Spirit guiding us. When we wait on the Lord, the timing and outcome may preserve the relationship. I think this is the hard part for people is waiting on the right time and not rushing resolution. I used to be like that and I missed out on seeing how the Lord can work. Now, I enjoy waiting on the guidance from the Holy Spirit to help me with conflict or possible confrontation.

    • Tim Hoelle says:

      I think you’re pulling a couple of really important points out of the text and messaging from this podcast – which means I agree with you! We definitely need to make sure we are coming in with the right attitude or motivation, and without question if that’s not happening up front then we should delay or remove ourselves from the process. And that follows your comment about waiting on the Lord for His leading – the timing has to be His and not ours. That can be difficult if we lack discernment and/or if we don’t have others that can help us maintain perspective and to whom we can be accountable.

  • Autumn Duncan says:

    This podcast really teaches Matthew 18 so clearly and is a powerful step-by-step way to handle a situation with a friend or family member. One of the important parts for me was where they mentioned, It must be a clear situation with a sinful situation or sins against you. It’s important that you seek out the person directly. When you are speaking to someone, it’s hard to hear and to also bring this to someone. When you are walking in humility, you will be willing to hear a brother and the sin they have against you. The Holy Spirit will be speaking and bring the conviction and not follow procedures. There would be less pain and broken relationships with each other and in the church when we use Matthew 18.

  • Victoria Santana says:

    Matthew 18 is probably the most misused scripture in the bible. People feel the need to use it or reference it whenever that have even the slightest conflict in their lives. What we need to realize is that Matthew 18 is only used when we are personally involved in a conflict of sinfulness. God lays out specific guidelines for us but people still decide to misinterpret the scripture for their own benefit.
    We are to approach someone only when they are involved in sinfulness, not when we have a difference of opinion with someone, or when we decide we disagree with what they are doing or how they are living their life. So wrong.
    God is very specific that we must be personally involved, it must be a big enough offense that we can’t overlook it (the goal is to overlook offenses that are minor), and be handled quickly and between the two people involved. If these guidelines were followed there would be less conflicts that last very long. If I was to go to someone as soon as the offend me with their sin I can hopefully help them to repent of their sin and restore our relationship. When we confront someone we are to do it in love, with humility, and with the goal of restoration. Our hope is that when we do, the Holy Spirit would work in them to cause them to be convicted of what they did and seek forgiveness and restoration.
    Another way that people misuse this scripture is by trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit and convicting the person and giving them ultimatums if they do not repent. It is the Lord’s job to bring them to repentance.

  • Josh Halan says:

    These are Jesus Guidlines for dealing with those who sin against us within the (local) Body of Christ. These are specficially meant for; believers, not unbelievers, Sin that is towrads and agasint just YOU, and Conflict resolution that is done within the context of the local church Body, not the community. when someone wrongs us we often do the opposite of what Jesus Commands.

    The Binding snd loosening refers to the decisions of the church in conflicts. because there is no court of appeal among belivers beyond the Church. just like there isnt anything beyond the judcial court system of our goverment for social and civil issues. and when we handle things in the biblically prescribed way we will not only have an impact now, but also in eternity.

  • Rebecca Harden says:

    These are good guidelines for dealing with sin conflicts. We must first always check ourselves first, see if we have sinned in this situation and come to it in humility. We then need to make sure if the situation actually involves sin, and I really liked that they said to make sure to have the Bible back up the sin being exposed or examined. You need to examine motives for confronting the conflict, use biblical terminology in addressing the conflict, and make sure timing is right. Most importantly, we need to be led by the Holy Spirit in all things. God uses us as His tools in all that we do, but the Spirit does the heavy work. When we follow guidelines such as these and we allow the Spirit to work through us in the ways that He wants to, God can do some really cool things.

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