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1 – Address Your Heart: Do you respect this person as a fellow image-bearer (James 3:9-10)? Perhaps it would be wise to take time to regain that respect if it’s floundering. If not, your corrective care may have an edge that you can’t camouflage.
2 – Limited Knowledge: God is omniscient; we are not. No matter what you know or think you know, you do not know the whole story. Do you have a healthy dose of self-suspicion without caving to morbid doubt, insecurity, and double-mindedness (James 1:5-8)?
3 – Talk to a Mentor: It’s not wrong to gain the perspective of someone who has gone farther down the road than you have. This person should have more wisdom, competence in God’s Word, and the courage to speak the truth to you. If you respect the offender and desire a redemptive conclusion, it is not gossip to quietly share with someone to gain their perspective.
4 – Overlook the Offense: Sometimes, you can overlook an offense. If it’s an episode, not a pattern that speaks to a rooted character flaw, perhaps letting it pass this time would prove wise. We all mess up.
5 – The Biggest Sin: Never forget that you put Christ on the cross, and whatever this person did to you, it does not equal the most heinous of all crimes. If God has forgiven you of this crime, move carefully as you confront (Matthew 18:33). Thus, you approach this matter with humility and self-awareness.
6 – Ask Questions: The statement maker already knows the answers. Go back to point #2. The question asker wants to confront with humility, seeking to learn, permitting the person to explain while realizing they don’t know everything. Once you have more clarity and are sure it’s a legitimate offense, you can be more direct.
7 – What Depends on You: – Your job is to water and plant, not cause the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6). You must not over-try or over-care about this matter. Do what depends on you to be at peace with this person (Romans 12:18). If your soul is not at rest about the matter, there is an issue with you and the Lord you must pursue. He provides rest for His children, even in storms.
8 – Up the Chain: If the person does not respond biblically, you will have to determine if you need to bring another person into the situation or let it go. If you believe there must be reconciliation, then go back to the original person you talked to (point #3) because your goal is not to spread gossip but bring a redemptive conclusion to the matter. Ask that person to assist.
9– Still No Repentance: If the person refuses to change after your second attempt, you will have to decide if you can let it rest. If not, you must continue to bring more people into the situation, following the Matthew 18:15-17 template.
10 – Pastoral Care: At this juncture, you may want to get a pastor involved if the original person you talked to about this is not a pastor. His responsibility is to care for the sheep, but he won’t if you don’t let him know what’s happening.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).