God has given us the responsibility to honestly confront those who do wrong. For most of us, confrontation is a difficult task. For a few, it’s much too easy. I hope you don’t delight in finding fault in others. If you do, stop and consider if you do this as a way of overlooking your own faults.
I think God wants us to help others see the truth. You can hold up a mirror to your good friends, and they hopefully will do the same for you.
Help others see their faults but do it with great humility. You’re not responsible for the behavior of others, but you are responsible to gently and tactfully point out areas of misbehavior that may cause them to stumble, fall, or lose their way.
Are you avoiding some tough conversations? If you have kids, are you confronting them’and when you do, are you doing it with gentleness and humility? Check yourself. Is your tone respectful? Is your word choice uplifting or condescending? God calls you to show courage by addressing wrong, but remember the goal is always to see the other person restored, not belittled. Help that person turn back to God.
Most Americans admire those who practice ‘rugged individualism.’ But in our emphasis on individual freedom, we often lose sight of our corporate responsibility. As Christians, we’re individuals but we’re also part of a people. We’re called to benefit from the work of others, to suffer with others, and to bear responsibility with others. This may not seem fair, but it’s a fact.
You see, our ties reach all the way back to Adam and Eve. We need to be saved because, as it says in the book of Romans, ‘Adam’s one sin brought condemnation upon everyone.’ But Roman’s goes on to say that this very principle of corporate connectedness makes salvation possible through our unity with Christ, for ‘Christ’s one act of righteousness makes all people right in God’s sight and gives them life’.
When the Israelites returned from their exile, they realized how both they and their ancestors had failed God’s commands, and they were overcome with grief. In that repentant grief, however, they heard the good news of grace, and this revived and renewed their love for God and their desire to obey him.
Ask God to bring to mind any sins or wrongdoings you, or even your family, has committed so you may confess and let go of them. It’s a powerful exercise, but seeing God’s mercy over all your sin can be one of the most liberating experiences ever.
We all have inherent weaknesses that make us vulnerable to particular kinds of sin, don’t we? That means something that’s a snare for one man may be completely harmless for another. But one thing we all have in common is that we each must accept responsibility for ourselves. That means you need to guard against anything that exploits our weaknesses and provides a situation where it will be easy for you to stumble into sin.
It’s a mistake to think that temptation only exists outside of us. Problems happen when things outside of us stir up and stimulate dispositions already resident within us. James 1:14-16 says, ‘Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled.’
Men, part of taking responsibility for your own sinful desires means you need to identify and avoid locations, situations, or people that trigger temptation. It’s not always easy. Often such things seem innocent enough, and sometimes they’re things in which we find comfort’or escape.
But as difficult as this may be, it’s essential that you know yourself and your weaknesses well enough to know what is dangerous, what is harmful, and what is simply a waste of your time and energy. You’ll avoid a lot of grief and pain simply by avoiding those things that provide the opportunity and occasion to stumble.