024: How to Confront a Sinful Christian


What You'll Discover in this Episode:

In our continued study of conflict resolution, we will focus on the topic of confronting a sinful Christian. During this episode, Pastor Jeff will provide practical guidelines for talking to other Christians about their sin.


Ultimately, Love is the motivating factor. Seek the Lord to flood your heart with love for the person you are experiencing conflict with. The motive of the heart should be to bring unity back into the relationship. It’s not about the practical steps, but rather the fullness of the Holy Spirit. It has to be God at work in order to change a heart. Any life change has to be a work of the Holy Spirit. As a biblical counselor, you should be filled with the Holy Spirit! Check out this episode to hear more about the guidelines in depth. 


  • Practical Guidelines For Talking To Other Christians About Their Sin 

  • Beforehand- Get the beam out of your own eye
  • Be sure what the person has done is really a sin
  • Examine your motives first 
  • Use biblical terminology when talking to the person about their sin
  • Choose the right time
  • Choose the right words and spirit

Resources:


Subscribe and Download

Are you a subscriber? If not, you’re missing a major opportunity to get practical, actionable advice delivered straight to your device every week. Don’t miss a single episode! Subscribe on iTunes or wherever you listen.

And if you’re really loving the show, we’d be super-grateful if you’d also leave a review on iTunes. That’ll help others find this program so they can benefit too. We read every single review too. Good, bad, or indifferent, we’d love to hear what you think.


Listen on the go! Follow the Biblical Counseling Podcast using your favorite app:

Listen to Stitcher
  • Tom Zimbelman says:

    “Don’t lose sight of the purpose of this admonition/confrontation … you want to win your brother.” That statement at 5:44-5:54 in the podcast is a great foundation for confronting sin in another person. How we confront someone goes a long way in producing the desired result “as much as depends on you” (Romans 12:18). The goal is that a relationship should be restored, first God and then with us.

    I really feel the practical guidelines from Pastor Jeff are helpful for those who don’t like confrontation and for those who do (“those people need to chill” – lol).

    1st, that love needs to be the motivation for the confrontation. Is our heart right in this matter? We need to depend on God as full restoration is a work of the Holy Spirit.

    2nd, Get the plank out of our own eye (Matthew 7:1-5). I am unloving or filled with wrath? Do I gloat about others failures?

    Jeff brought up Matthew 5 in this podcast, something that just hit me today as I was studying. I had something to say to a good friend of mine – I needed to apologize for something. This passage about leaving my gift at the altar and being restored to my brother popped into my mind and I couldn’t shake it – until I relented and left my “studies” at the alter and called my friend. It was a huge blessing, and our friendship even grew from the matter.

    These points, in addition to being regularly in right relationship with God and also keeping matters in a small circle of those involved, were very impactful for me.

    • Autumn C Duncan says:

      I agree that the point about keeping the matters with the person only is so important. I think we have all been hurt by the gossip by someone who didn’t come to us but told everyone else. That’s great Tony that you sought out your friend to make things right and made your friendship stronger. I have found the same thing to happen when I go to a friend or even my husband. Most people don’t know what to do when they are approached in love as it goes against our flesh and what we see in society. I am glad that I made changes to preserve relationships that are important to me.

    • Ulayana Gomes says:

      Tom, that is so true, I’m also was blowing away by this podcast and how to take in application to deal with the conflict. I’m as Jeff mentioned not so well dealing with conflict but the leaving the get at the altar and not get burden by it it gave me such clarity and guidance. I recently had to deal with conflict and that podcast came such practical tool to remind me what steps I need to take and not loose heart in the middle of this.

      • Tom Zimbelman says:

        Ulayana,
        I like what Jeff said about keeping short accounts, not letting things get out of control by waiting too long to address an issue. Sometimes we think the passing of time will just make things go away, but often it just prolongs and amplifies a problem (and some bad feelings between people). It’s hard to confront and be confronted – I know, I struggle with this. But I know God knows what He’s doing and asks us to just trust Him.

  • Autumn C Duncan says:

    I love the continued insight on conflict resolution that focuses on going to someone with love and keeping unity as a focus. I think if people who are believers and nonbelievers approached conflict with someone with this intention, there would be less broken relationships and deep wounds. I know that I have been prideful in the past as I wanted to be right and have the validation that I was right. This was such a destructive and prideful way to handle conflict but it was what I learned growing up. I am so thankful that over the past 20 years I have realized how to handle conflict that is honoring to the Lord and when I have been more patient and loving, the relationships I have fostered are stronger and lasting. Thank goodness the Lord continues to grow us and have people like Pastor Jeff teach us how to improve our relationships.

    • Alejandro Anchondo says:

      You hit something interesting there. We all were raised differently with varying types of role models on conflict resolution. This is something our “old man” learned before we knew the Lord and were born again. Now we deal with killing the flesh, controlling ourselves, and growing in grace with one another. I have to say my “old man” learned to pretend there was no conflict and ignore the situation for selfish reasons. Now, I battle my flesh to repeat those patterns.

  • Ulayana Gomes says:

    Thank you Pastor Jeff, for such an importance in the body and how to deal with conflicts especially whines the sin involved in the biblical way. It is so true that we do need to take steps to do that and not just act on our emotions.

    I really like how you mentioned that love is the motivation for us as follower of Christ to seek the unity within the body.

    I think you brought such a practical ways: fast, stop, pray, and seek the Lord. Those all you mention is the right heart motives to do. And of course Matthew 7:5 is always keeps our heart check before the Lord.

    As our walk with God, sometimes we don’t see ourselves and when brother comes to correct and reproof, that can brings a healthy growth. The truth is conflict resolution in the body of Christ is crucial for several reasons.

    Avoidance of conflict, with no effort to resolve it, postpones a proper response and exacerbates the problem because conflicts that are allowed to fester unaddressed will always increase and have negative effects on relationships within the body. The goal of conflict resolution is unity, and unity in the church.

    And yes sometimes those who do conflict resolution best are often those who would prefer not to confront others about their sin, but still do so out of obedience to God. Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense (Pro. 19:11). And If it cannot be overlooked, one must pursue reconciliation. This is such an important issue to God that peace with Him and peace with others are inextricably entwined. Importance that we doo need to be filled and led by the Holy Spirit to seek His will among all to be witness and shine His light.

    • Melissa Hermosillo says:

      Thank you for sharing this. I agree! Many times, because we do not like conflict, we avoid it or prolong it but the more we wait it out, the worst it can get and the it keeps distorting the truth. So I think another thing is getting rid of the problem or resolving the situation as soon as we have the chance to. Even if it is something we are dreading

    • Erin Knorr says:

      Great points Ulayana, I know I can definitely react on my emotions and I think it was really good that Pastor Jeff brought up the point again of really checking on our emotions. Seeing if it is more our feelings getting hurt or if it something more. I know that has really been such a great step that I have been more conscience of over the past couple of months. With working in the body of Christ. Also love should be the motivation by what we do things from. John 13:34-35, says that people will know that we are Jesus’s disciples by how we love one another.

      I think you hit the spot when you said that the goal of conflict resolution is unity and unity in the church. Because conflict comes and disrupts the unity and wants to build a wall between people, to push people away.

  • Charlie Colleton says:

    This whole series of conflict resolution podcasts has been a great refresher and full of insight. Once again we are given biblical guidelines to addressing conflict with our brothers and sisters. There was a bit of conviction for me here to really be sure that I am checking my heart when things tend to offend me. We really ought to be quicker to seek the Spirit to give us the discernment of whether it merely is an offense or is it actually sin. What a powerful truth it is that our motives should always be based out of love and wanting to see growth and rebuilding of a relationship. The thought of using biblical lingo instead of our own lingo is another wonderful insight/tip, it shows that we truly have sought the Lord and His Word over the matter. A humble word given will go much further, and it will truly serve the person we are confronting as well as the Lord. Lord may we truly seek You and Your perfect timing when it comes to addressing our brothers and our sisters and not just winging it on our own whims.

    • Alejandro Anchondo says:

      I agree. The series has been very fruitful. I appreciated the practical tips on using biblical words, choosing our meet time careful and also thinking through how we would say it ahead of time. I have “winged it” before and I always end up saying something I wish I hadn’t said. When that has happened I usually feel as though I had sown up a huge tear within a relationship only to make the thread loose again with my loose lips.

  • Alejandro Anchondo says:

    It is so important to examine your motives first. As a leader in a church it can be difficult to guard your heart in interpersonal issues. For instance, there was a long term church member who stopped coming to our church. He disagreed on a decision I had made. I waited to see if he would come back on his own, but was convicted that I didn’t seek our my brother for reconciliation as Matt 5. When I was waiting to see if he would return on his own I told myself that it was to see where the brother’s heart was. But, it was really me wanting to put the blame on him and not myself.
    When he didn’t come back and people started asking about it I felt nervous that I would be blamed for it mistakenly. I may not have done anything to provoke him to leave but I certainly didn’t help him come back. I again had to check my motives that I wouldn’t be reaching out to him just to save my reputation.
    When he didn’t respond to my phone call or text, I assumed he just wouldn’t have it. But, I again sensed I was justifying my lack of efforts to really reach him. It was a difficult few weeks.
    But, I have made new plans to try again and I know the Lord will honor my heartfelt, and humble desire to see him blessed, I love him and I want our church guarded from gossip of who left and why. Those are the right reasons to reach out.

    Checking our motives is more than just a few prayers but a deep dive into our own hearts. I think we should get counsel on the situation, and look back and see how we handled things in the past to see our patterns… whether sinful or godly.

    • Tom Zimbelman says:

      Hi Alejandro-
      I like what you wrote regarding our motives – we need to take a deep dive into our hearts. This week, Matthew 7:1-5 has had a big impact on me. If we are confronting others about something, have we confronted ourselves about the same thing? Are we seeing clearly, as the Lord does?
      Good for you for planning to continue pursue this individual for the purpose of restoration. It’s not easy, but properly preparing yourself through prayer and a close examination of the real issues make it worth it.
      -Tom

    • Autumn C Duncan says:

      I appreciate you sharing what you are gong through and how this message has helped you 🙂 I agree that it’s so important to check our motives I have found that sometimes I delay my response so I can have to time to do that along with the Lord to help bring me some clarity. I have let things go and/or handled things better. I will be praying for you and the situation with the church member.

    • Sari says:

      Alejandro, I totally understand your situation. I have a set of parents this school year who do not share the same values as our school. To be honest, I’m not sure why they have brought their children to our Christian school since they do not seem to understand why we teach what we do. It’s a long story but I have been very frustrated (or angry to use the Biblical words) because they have challenged me when I sincerely am only trying to teach their child to use kind words and be slow to speak but in the middle of my frustrations, I realized that my attitude towards them was no better than theirs towards me. Checking your heart can be a scary thing to do because sometimes our selfishness, pride, sinful attitudes are there but we are blind to them.

  • Kristie Gallagher says:

    Pastor Jeff had so many great things to say in this podcast. It is so important that Matthew 18 is used only when someone has sinned, not just because the person has bothered us or we disagree with him or her. Before confronting someone we need to pray ask the Lord if this is what we are supposed to do. Before going to them we need to make sure we don’t have sin in our own heart. If the Lord is leading us to talk with the person we need to go to them in love, with a humble heart. I loved what Jeff said, choose the right time and choose the right words. Proverbs 15:28 says, “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer.” It is so important that we use words that are loving, gentle and humble. Never go to a person in pride just wanting to correct them. We need to have a heart of love to restore a person.

    • Tabitha Lee says:

      Hi Kristie! I completely agree! I enjoyed this podcast and direction given. It gave a carefully thought out points for more clarity regarding Matthew 18.
      I like how you mentioned the timing being important and that it stood out to you. I believe we often don’t take things to prayer but react on our emotions and it leads to an unhealthy result. Waiting, praying and studying the Word so we know how to respond. Trusting the Lord’s timing and guidance in our words. Blessings to you!

    • Sari says:

      I agree, Kristie. I really liked how he differentiated between the little bothers or annoyances that come from our differences (or idiosyncracies like he called them) are not sin unless we let it turn into sin. I also wrote down when he said the most important thing is character, and that we should win our brother, not the argument.

    • Melissa Hermosillo says:

      I love this Kristie! Thank you. God latley has been reminding me that he gives GRACE to the humble. So many times humility is the hardest thing to have in the middle of these situations, but he promises to give us grace when we do humble ourselves. So may we always be willing to humble ourselves with others and believe that God will cover those confrontations with grace.

  • Tabitha Lee says:

    Thank you Pastor Jeff for this podcast! I really appreciate the 4 points that you shared as we approach a fellow believer who is struggling with a sin issue. First, I must be sure their isn’t a plank in my own eye! Very important! If any one of us as believers has been rebuked by someone with a plank, we know exactly why this doesn’t work. The entire time the person with a speck is being rebuked by the one with a plank, the speck hears nothing being said, but instead is having thoughts about the one with the plank and how ridiculous the confrontation is. There is no love or Holy Spirit guidance in this situation.

    In the forth point we are encouraged to use biblical terminology. I agree with this! Often we try to use man’s wisdom or politically correct terms and we miss out on the power of God’s Word and how the Holy Spirit will use His Word through us! Only God’s Word can truly convict and bring about repentance.

    “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;”
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭2:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    • Noah Greenberg says:

      Hey Tabitha! I completely agree with you on the fact that it is impossible for a person with a plank in their eye give advice to the person with the speck. Often the person with the speck will consider the person with the plank to be a hypocrite. Giving advice when instead they are the one that needs advice. I also liked how you touched on the point of biblical terminology. Man’s wisdom will always fall short, but the Lord’s wisdom never will. Just as you said we need to let the Lord speak through us without putting any of our own barriers on what he wants to say.

    • Kristie Gallagher says:

      It is so important if we are to go to someone that we make sure we remove the plank from our own eye. Going to the person with love and humility, desiring for them to see the sin that is in their life removed.

  • Erin Knorr says:

    This can be a hard and difficult thing to do. Confrontation can be really intimating but I really like how Pastor Jeff said that we are to go to our brothers or sisters first and foremost. I think that is super important but also something that gets looked over. It always goes so much better to go to them directly and work through things, and I think the key thing here is to go with a willing heart for reconciliation or to work things through, to talk about it, with humility. To not have the idea to win an argument. Because as it was pointed out it has to come from a heart of love that is genuine, it cannot be a ‘fake’ love.

    One point that stuck out to me was the fact that conflict might not be resolved in a hour, or day or a week. Its not a time framed situation of when it should be resolved. There is freedom for the Holy Spirit to move. I think sometimes, we get so caught up in the fast pace of life that we just rush things and we need to let God do the work in the time frame that He is going to do it in.

    • Noah Greenberg says:

      Hey Erin! I What you said was actually something that I have never really put much thought into and that is going to “confront” our brothers and sisters first. Confrontation can be very awkward and sometimes that is what people are afraid of. That is why we need to step out in faith and let the Lord speak through us. It is not our own wisdom and understanding that should be giving advice, but rather God’s wisdom and understanding.

  • Sari says:

    This was a fantastic podcast. It sounds very silly to say that I enjoy learning about conflict resolution but I do! I tend to be more timid like Pastor Jeff said he was and there have been multiple times I have been in a position in which I needed to confront someone. It is so hard for a person who would prefer to avoid conflict and be the one to compromise in order to make others happy. However, when I obeyed God’s word and followed His prescribed way of conflict resolution, the freedom of the heart is amazing! Obedience to God’s ways is always best.

  • Pablo Valdez Acosta says:

    The concept of die to self is the lesson God has been inscribing in my heart.
    I thank you Jeff for your obedience and love to teach us to use scripture and to tune our hearts vertical (heavens) when dealing with issues that require us to confront a brother/ sister in Christ. Our hearts and motive must be aligned to Jesus when dealing with issues.
    Sometimes I take light issues and see them as sin because they bother the “I” in the picture and more than likely love can over come them, what a great lesson. A lot of us get caught up on the minor issues that separate us from loving those that needed.
    I am sharing this podcast with my mens ministry while doing Raising A Modern Day Knight because it compliments it deeply.
    Also last note : I am a firm believer that if a person does something that highly bothers is it must be an area that we must work on with His grace and mercies

    • Tabitha Lee says:

      Hi Pablo! Thank you for sharing! I think we all can easily be caught up in the minor issues. I realized after defending myself yesterday to a co-worker on something I heard another one say in a meeting that I was more offended by it than I realized. I thought over the issue and decided it was more a heart issue on my part than what the person actually said. I need to forgive, not take offense so easily and move on. It is really the love that covers. If the comment is said again, I might need to address the misrepresentation. But until then I need to let it go.
      As we walk closely with the Lord, He is quick to reveal these things to us.
      I shared this podcast with several just this week! So good! Thank you Pastor Jeff!

      Blessings! Tabitha

  • Melissa Hermosillo says:

    Win the bother/sister, not the argument, not loosing sight of this argument and what is actually important. It is not about the confrontation itself that we should be worried about but rather we should care more about the transformation and the conflict being resolved with love to get our bother/sister back. Not wanting to get the conflict out for everyone to hear about it, but keep it in secret and talk to the person. This happened to me recently where the person went to talk to everyone but me about it, and it was really disappointing. I believe that the most christian and biblical thing to do is BEFORE anything else or anyone else, go to that person and let them know what is going on, how you are feeling and ask them how they are as well. If you love them enough, you will always give them the opportunity to explain before telling everyone about it. Many times we just don’t have the story right and or the information gets to us already altered so being wise about it is going first to that person and finding out what is really going on. Most of the times, the conflict gets resolved right then and there and no more drama or people had to hear about it.

    • Kristie Gallagher says:

      I love that. We are to win the brother or sister, not the argument. Our goal should be to see a person draw closer to the Lord. So sorry you had to go through someone not coming to you, but telling others. That is painful.

  • Noah Greenberg says:

    This was an awesome podcast. I love how you make all the points easy to understand and how you back up every idea with scriptures. The very first point on practical guidelines for talking to other Christians about their sin resonated with me. I know for me it is so easy to pick out the sin of everyone around me and forget about the sin that I might have in my own life. It is very easy for me to excuse the plank in my own eye and ridicule others about the speck in theirs. It is also difficult to give spiritual advice to people who think you are a hypocrite. How can I give advice to someone if I am not also abiding by the same advice I give to them.

  • >