Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas 
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How to Confront
by Tom Goodman
May 30, 2012

Silence isn't always golden; sometimes it's yellow.

If your silence is too often more the yellow, cowardly variety, then take a look at Matthew 18:15-17.  Jesus gave us instructions on how to confront someone who has offended us.  As we continue our Sunday morning series called "Getting Along," we'll look closely at Christ's instructions this week.

When someone lets you down, follow Christ's four stages of confrontation.

Talk in private.  Jesus said, "Go privately and point out the fault."  This is where a lot of us fail right away.  We talk about the person, but we don't talk to the person.  We involve a lot of other people in the problem long before we get into it with the person who has frustrated us.

Involve others.  If we have to take it to the next level, Jesus expects us to know how to count.  Now's not the time to rally a bunch of people to your cause.  How many people did he say to involve in verse 16?  "Take one or two others with you and go back again."

Tell the church.  If private conversation doesn't solve it and if mediators can't help, in verse 17 Jesus said, "Take your case to the church."  This is a much more formal level:  It's now a case that has to be solved, not just an issue to be settled.  For months and through multiple meetings you've tried to get this solved one-on-one, and then with mediators, and the person who's hurt you still refuses to deal with it.  So you and your mediators bring it to the church.

Cut him off.  If a private conversation doesn't resolve things, if a small group of mediators couldn't get anywhere, if a formal church intervention didn't move the heart of the offender, what other choice do you have?

Sadly, we often go first to the step that Christ said should be last.  Let's get this right.  Join us at 10 a.m. this Sunday for a deeper study of this important topic.

And, by the way, join us at 10 a.m. in the gym!  Many thanks to everyone who stayed after church last week to clear out the auditorium.  In just 3 hours the whole place was stripped bare!  Renovations have begun, so our summer worship services will take place in the gym.  I'll be in short-sleeves, so you feel free to join me.  See you Sunday!


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