QUESTIONING MOTIVES AND JUDGING
How to Minister to Christians or others who are struggling with sin and or bad habits.
Needless to say, in one page we cannot cover this topic in depth. However, we hope we can give some helpful ideas.
Before we get started we need to acknowledge that most bad habits are probably sinful. We need to be careful that we do not lessen the seriousness of bad habits. The reason they are called bad habits is because they are not good for us or others. They can be very destructive.
This nugget is specifically directed towards helping those who have desire to change and are sincere in their desire to change.
More than anything else we need to show acceptance and love. We do not have to accept the sin in order to accept the person. Acceptance means you will be with the person whether they change or not. God hangs in there with us. We need to do the same. And we love the person in spite of their sin.
1 Cor. 13:4-9
"4Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never fails..."
If you want to be an encouragement and helpful to someone who is struggling with sin, more than anything else, BELIEVE IN THEM. 1 Cor 13:7 states love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. The person needs to know that someone is on their side. They need to know that if they take one step backwards that there is someone that will help them take two steps forward. God does not forsake us. We all need to know that there is at least one person who will not forsake us when we are struggling.
Don't spend too much time looking at the sin or bad habit. Help the person to focus on the solution-Jesus. A person desiring to change does not need your help in reminding them about their sin-they 'play the tapes in their mind' without your help. Their struggle will be going to God's throne for grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
You certainly should help the person see there needs to be repentance in their life. There needs to be the intentional effort to turn away from the sin. Work with them in coming up with ways to flee from the temptations.
You should never tell a person what is in their heart by making "you" statements to them. If you feel the Lord has revealed some things to you, then say "I believe, "I feel", "I might be wrong, but". Remember love is kind and not arrogant.
Realize that maybe the Lord wants to deal with something else in the person's life. Instead of the smoking issue, maybe He wants to deal with anger. Instead of the overeating, maybe it is the issue of unforgiveness. Maybe it is an issue of self worth, not sexual immorality. Maybe God knows the person is not able to deal with the seriousness of their sin-so the Father is not as direct as we would like Him to be. Make sure your led by the Spirit. Don't be like Job's friends who thought they knew exactly what God wanted to do.
Now that we have said all this, we need to also acknowledge that sometimes people are deceived. They may be sincere, but the enemy has blinded their eyes. They may have developed defense mechanisms that prevent them from seeing the root issues. There are times for tough love. We will cover this topic in the next nugget.
Copyright © 2001 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserved.
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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations used are from the New American Standard Version (NASB).