Confronting another believer in the wrong spirit will always harden that person’s heart against being taught, corrected, inspired and developed – not only by you, but also by others who would have had so much to give them.
If you confront someone without the absolute best of motives, and on the basis of an already existing real, loving relationship, and with that person’s best interests at heart – not your own interests, but theirs – then you will simply alienate them. You will harden their heart to God’s work in their heart.
For decades, dear hearts all across the Church have been reduced to bleeding piles of wreckage by other people – and especially by leadership – who have got it wrong in this regard.
So, how to get it right? Well, before you decide to ‘confront’ someone, you need to examine your own motives.
Are you doing this out of a sense of your own hurt or perceived rejection? Is it because your dearly-held doctrines and sacred cows are being threatened? Is it because you don’t understand the other person’s point of view? Perhaps things might not have gone exactly as you expected and you’re outside your comfort zone? Have you assumed that the other person is doing the things you don’t like out of malice, full knowledge and intention? Are you projecting your own problems onto that person and making them a scapegoat? Do you actually know that person, love them and care about outcomes for them?
For you to be able to confront someone about a perceived problem, you need to be clear on all these points first. And ask yourself these two questions: Is it really them that’s the problem? And do you actually have the right – and indeed their permission – to say anything at all?
Most importantly, have you examined your own heart and forgiven that person before you so much as think about talking to them?
Remember that God develops and corrects people from the starting point of love and forgiveness. He only corrects people whom He has already forgiven. To harbour any other attitude will only be destructive. Remember that God is more interested in relationship than He is in people being right all the time. “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13). That way lies the blessing.