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Difficult conversations

Helping friends see that God’s way is best may be challenging.

One of the hardest things that we can deal with as Christians is seeing our friends and loved ones make choices we know will bring trouble, grief, or both. We are often put in an awkward position when we see people doing things they know they shouldn’t. We may feel like it isn’t our place to say anything. I understand that, but I think talking with people about their sins is something we should be able to do more.

When talking with people about their sins, we have to come to them from a place of love. If we don’t, we have no reason for bringing anything up. Then it can be seen as if we are just trying to make ourselves look better by pointing out what they are doing wrong. Consider Matthew 7:3, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” We cannot use other people’s sins to make our sins look smaller. While talking with other about their sins, it is important to recognize that we too are sinners who are in no way near perfect.

When it comes to having hard conversations with friends or family, we have to come from a place of real love.

When I have talked with people, I find a misconception that Christians’ lives have been perfect or that they haven’t really gone through trouble or difficulty. People in general don’t tend to talk about their personal struggles. But when it comes to talking to people about their struggles, we can have a more honest conversation once we open up about our own sins and trials.

When it comes to having hard conversations with friends or family, we have to come from a place of real love. I think, though, that we don’t always know what love really means. It’s not the warm, fuzzy feeling; it’s care and concern for other people. We want what is best for them and aren’t going to let them put themselves into bad situations.

That concept of love is distorted when the person says, “If you love me, you’ll let me do what I want.” It’s different. Because you love someone, you want to help that person avoid danger and trouble. You want what’s best for him or her.

We also have to bring in God’s Word because we are not the authority. God is. If we come with only love, we are telling people what we think is best for them. But when we talk with them about their sins, it’s God’s authority, not ours. It’s not our personal feelings alone that lead us to talk with them but God’s Word as well. So it is not just our love; it’s God’s love. God doesn’t put his commands in place to punish us but to bless us.

Having difficult conversations with those we love isn’t the most comfortable thing. But when we address those situations with the law and gospel, it will make those conversations easier. Of course, the conversations may not go the way we want, and we may need to have more than one conversation. Yet, with gentleness and respect, we can help people see that we care about them and want what is best for them.

Author: Hannah White
Volume 107, Number 10
Issue: October 2020

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