Let’s see a show of hands to all of you who have seen the following scenario in your life before.
You see a friend or relative in the midst of some tough life struggles and witness him or her having to wrestle with things like moral predicaments and spiritual imbroglios. For some reason, they are hesitant or half-hearted to press forward, or worse, they have come to a functional gridlock of sorts.
You, being a dedicated Christian, may see what your buddy or loved one is going through and have sound, Biblical advice for them. For some reason, even though your words are sound and clear-cut on what they should do, it’s almost as if your words fall on deaf ears. You think, “Come on! Why don’t they just ‘do it’?” Although you recognize the concept of “easier said than done” quite often, well…it seems as though at times your brother in Christ just refuses to budge for some odd reason.
And then…you find yourself in a similar situation, and you discover that it’s hard to follow your previously prescribed advice. Not because you were naive or too simplistic in your approach before this, but for a reason such as you don’t want to make waves or offend anyone. It could be a complicated family matter getting in the way. Or you’re just too stubborn to give up control of the flesh or sin in your life. You continue to stumble, struggle, and it seems like you’re in a spiritual rut, immobile and unable to push forward.
Okay, probably quite a few of you nodded your head in acknowledgment of that story.
One of the things that this overall example displays is our need to have and to be a close brother to others in our Christian lives. We really need a “kick in the pants” from a trusted believer friend who is removed from our emotional attachments and who is not afraid to give tough, sobering guidance when we really need it. When our brothers give good, Godly advice based on Biblical principles, don’t shy away from heeding it; pray on it, consider their wise counsel and act on it, as it can be the very thing that will inspire you to get closer to God and having a breakthrough in your life. Admittedly, their words may sting deeply, but don’t let that deter you from humbling yourself and listening to their correction, as Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” [ESV]
This can also be flipped around where we are the wise counsel that our brothers in Christ need. Sometimes they need an outside voice detached from being in the thick of complicated matters through which they may be going. Your bold, direct words can be the very thing that can God uses to restore them on the right path.
If you do decide to confront your brother, first pray about it, and then make sure the words that you are going to use are drenched in God’s Word and wisdom. And when it is time to chat with them, have it be from a place of love and grace, and as Galatians 6:1 states, “you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness…” [ESV]
We should always be there for each other in the Body of Christ, loving, supporting, and encouraging each other. Sometimes, yes, we have to be part of a force of tough love, whether we are the ones receiving a needed kick in the pants, or if it is us reaching out to a brother.