February 8, 2023
Nehemiah - “After thinking it over, I spoke out against these nobles and officials. I told them, ‘You are hurting your own relatives by charging interest when they borrow money!’” (Nehemiah 5:7)
Confrontation is never fun, but it’s often necessary. When we do have to deal with it, it’s best to go directly to the source. We shouldn’t deal with an outside party or talk with several people in order to get everyone on our side. We should never say, "I've got a prayer request..." which in conflict situations is often sanctified gossip. Instead, we should go directly to the offending person, right to the source. Honestly, if someone has offended us and we go to someone else besides them first then we have sinned. Nehemiah went directly to the nobles and officials. He went directly to the source of the problem - the people who were sinning against the Lord and the people of Jerusalem.
Jesus once said, “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you’ve won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he still refuses to listen, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matt 18:15-17)
Jesus loved the pagans and tax collectors, but He didn’t treat them like brothers. That's the difference between acceptance and approval. We should only involve others if it’s absolutely necessary. We should first speak to the offending person. We should try to resolve it with them. If that doesn't work, we should take another person with us and try again. If that doesn't work, then we should involve a larger group and bring the church in on it.
Most of us don’t want to confront others, but it is often necessary. Now, people who like to confront others have a problem. It is not fun at all. But confrontation is often necessary for the good of everybody. If we don't confront, the problem only gets worse. The longer we wait to confront the more courage it takes to confront. Have you ever seen the morale in an office deteriorate because of one jerk who is a trouble maker and his poisonous attitudes are being spread throughout the entire office because the manager is a wimp and refuses to deal with it. Have you ever seen a family fall apart because the parents were afraid to discipline their kids? When it’s necessary, we must have the courage to confront the offending party and deal with the issue.
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY
Think of the last time you had to confront someone. Did you enjoy it? Of course you didn’t, but you realized it was necessary. If you had a similar situation and had to confront someone again, what would you do differently? Think about it, read back through the scriptures above, and then journal about how you would proceed. If you’re leading your family through this devotion, dialogue with them about the do’s and don'ts of confrontation, then pray as a family for God’s direction when conflict arises.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, when it’s time to confront, give me the courage to do so. In Jesus’ name, Amen.