Loving Confrontation and Its Hateful AlternativesBy Pastor Boffey on Sunday, March 13, 2011.
Loving Confrontation and its Hateful Alternatives A Study of Leviticus 19:16-18 I. These instructions are twice enforced by the expression “I am the LORD.” A. This is God's instruction, not a man's opinion. B. God Himself will hold us accountable to follow these instructions. C. These instruction had better be heard and followed! II. A hateful alternative to loving confrontation is going up and down as a talebearer. A. Talebearer: “One who officiously carries reports of private matters to gratify malice or idle curiosity.” B. Talebearers report private matters for two reasons: 1. They want to harm another. 2. And/or they are gratifying the curiosity of people who want to know things that are NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. C. A talebearer harms another by private testimony. D. Talebearers reveal secrets. PRO 20:19. 1. There are things that should be kept secret rather than being broadcast openly. PRO 12:23; 25:9. 2. The ability to keep a secret is an act of faithfulness (PRO 11:13). Do not trust a man that cannot keep a secret. 3. Your closest friends with whom you share the most should be people whom you can trust. PSA 41:9. E. Talebearers flatter people. PRO 20:19. 1. This is how they collect their tales and their hearers. 2. They are to be left alone rather than meddled with! F. Talebearers are injurious people who fuel strife. PRO 26:20-22. G. Talebearing is carrying reports of PRIVATE matters, not public matters as in 1CO 1:11; 5:1; 11:18; 2TI 2:17-18. H. In reporting matters to another, ask yourself if the person to whom you are speaking has any need to know what you are reporting since talebearing occurs when the motive is to gratify idle curiosity. I. The loving thing to do is to cover a person's faults, if possible, rather than to spread them abroad. PRO 10:12; 17:9. 1. People who unnecessarily broadcast the faults of others have a hatred problem. 2. Those who practice such hatred are deceitful. PRO 26:24-27. a. They are not to be believed. b. They will be trapped by their own devices. III. In connection with talebearing, consider backbiting and whispering, which are condemned in ROM 1:29-32 and 2CO 12:20. A. Backbite: “To detract from the character of, to slander, traduce, speak ill of: a person absent.” 1. It is not backbiting to discuss publicly known facts regarding a person's character, even if those facts are negative. 2. How does one take away from a person's reputation when that person has already destroyed his reputation? B. Whispering: “The action of saying or reporting something quietly or secretly; suggestion Loving Confrontation and Its Hateful Alternatives Page 1 of 5or insinuation (by whispered speech); faint mention or rumour; esp. malicious insinuation, secret slander or detraction, backbiting.” C. Slander: “The utterance or dissemination of false statements or reports concerning a person, or malicious misrepresentation of his actions, in order to defame or injure him.” D. Backbiting, whispering, and slander are like talebearing in that they involve the spreading of reports that should not be repeated and that do harm. E. Beware of evil surmisings, i.e. the framing of conjectures, suspicions. 1TI 6:4; ZEC 8:17. 1. Reserve judgment when you lack sufficient proof. 1CO 4:5. 2. By this means you will avoid the framing of false statements or reports which constitute the matter for slander. F. Do not harbor hatred for your brother as this will motivate you to injure him which is the motive for slander. G. Collecting evidence in a case of judgment does not necessarily constitute a case of backbiting, whispering, or slander. 1. A case of judgment may involve diligent inquisition. DEU 19:18. 2. Inquisition: “The action or process of inquiring or searching into matters, esp. for the purpose of finding out the truth or the facts concerning something; search, inquiry, investigation, research; scrutiny, inspection.” H. Examples of whispering and slander may be seen in 2SAM 16:3 c/w 19:27; PSA 41:6-8; ROM 3:8. I. Observe in these passages cases of people talking about people; but these are not cases of backbiting, whispering, or slander: DEU 13:12-15; 1SAM 2:22-24; 19:1-3, 18; 1CO 1:11; 5:1; 11:18; 2TH 3:11; 2TI 1:15; 2:17; 4:10, 14-15. 1. The statements and reports in this case are not false. 2. The intent is not to defame or injure. IV. Another hateful alternative to loving confrontation is standing against the blood of one's neighbor. LEV 19:16. A. Note that this is connected with talebearing in the same sentence thus underscoring the gravity of talebearing. B. This refers to being a false witness against an innocent man. EXO 20:16; 23:1-2, 7; 1KI 21:13; MAT 26:60-61. C. This is harming another in public testimony. One hides behind the crowd to give vent to his hatred of his brother. D. Before his conversion, Paul was guilty of this crime in the case of Stephen. ACT 22:20. E. EZE 22:9 connects this crime with talebearing. 1. These can be people that carry tales to mount a momentum against an innocent man before he is tried. 2. Or these can be people who betray others in times of oppression or persecution. V. Rather than talebearing and hiding behind a crowd to do harm, we should rebuke our brother for his sin. LEV 19:17. A. Rebuke: “To beat down or force back; to repress or check (a person); to repulse; to reprove, reprimand, chide severely; to express blame or reprehension of (a quality, action, etc.) by reproof or reprimand TO PERSONS.” B. Reprove: “To reject; to express disapproval of (conduct, actions, beliefs, etc.); to censure, condemn; to reprehend, rebuke, blame, chide, or find fault with (a person).” C. In rebuking a person it is necessary to CONFRONT HIM with what he is doing wrong. Loving Confrontation and Its Hateful Alternatives Page 2 of 5D. The nouns and pronouns in LEV 19:17 are singular: “Thou...thy brother...thine heart...thou...thy neighbour...him.” E. The purpose for the rebuke is not to suffer SIN upon the brother. 1. The rebuke addresses sin, which is defined by God's word. 1JO 3:4; ROM 4:15. 2. Be sure that what you are rebuking is indeed a sin. 3. The most effective tool for rebuke is God's word. 2TI 3:16. F. The goal in rebuking the brother is to save him so that sin does not ruin him. JAM 5:19-20. 1. By thus rebuking the brother the sin is hidden, providing the brother repents. 2. On the other hand, talebearing causes the matter to become public knowledge. G. This rebuke is an act of love whereas failure to do so is an act of hatred. Recall that talebearers have a hatred problem. H. One who fails to confront a brother and thus save him from his sin, but rather makes it a matter of common knowledge by talebearing, opens himself to being charged with hatred! VI. In confronting another, be sure that you are not guilty of doing the very thing or worse that you are rebuking your brother for. MAT 7:1-5. VII. In practicing confrontation, be aware that Scripture sternly warns against being busybodies in other men's matters. 1PE 4:15. A. Busybody: “An officious or meddlesome person; one who is improperly busy in other people's affairs.” 1. Officious: “Doing or ready to do kind offices; eager to serve or please; attentive, obliging, kind; Dutiful; Unduly forward in proffering services or taking business upon oneself; doing, or prone to do, more than is asked or required; interfering with what is not one's concern; meddlesome.” 2. Meddlesome: “Given to meddling or interfering.” 3. Meddle: “To mix, mingle; to combine, blend, intersperse; To concern or busy oneself. Now always expressive of disapprobation, to concern oneself or take part interferingly.” B. Busybodies are engaging in disorderly conduct. 2TH 3:11. C. The busybodies of 1TI 5:11-15 have waxed wanton against Christ, have cast off their first faith, and are turned aside after Satan. D. 1PE 4:15 classes busybodies with murderers, thieves, and evildoers. E. Busybodies meddle in strife that would be best left alone. PRO 26:17. F. Before confronting a person, ask if the matter that is concerning you is really any of your business! G. Wisdom dictates that sometimes it is best NOT TO BE CONCERNED! H. Beware of passing information around for prayer that is best kept private. 1. Prayer requests must not become a pretext for gossip. 2. Scripture teaches us general requests that will address problems that we have no business knowing. VIII. Christ gives clear instruction about confronting those who trespass against us. MAT 18:15-17; LUK 17:3-4. A. In step one the offended party must go ALONE to the offender (PRO 25:9). This stands in marked contrast to talebearing! B. In the second step one or two more are to be taken to act as witnesses. Loving Confrontation and Its Hateful Alternatives Page 3 of 51. These extra parties are not there as eyewitness of the offence. 2. They are there as witnesses of what transpires as the offended brother seeks reconciliation with the offender. C. In the third step the matter comes before the church. D. Failure to hear the church is grounds for exclusion. E. In confronting a brother over a trespass against yourself, consider whether the matter is serious enough to cause a breach of church fellowship as that is possible, if the matter is fully pursued. IX. Another hateful alternative to loving confrontation is avenging. LEV 19:18. A. Avenge: “To take vengeance, inflict retributive punishment, exact satisfaction, or retaliate, on behalf of (an injured person, violated right, etc.): to vindicate.” B. Avenging is put in contrast to loving one's neighbour as oneself. C. Take this together with ROM 12:19-21 which teaches: 1. Vengeance is the Lord's to repay, not ours! 2. We are to do good to our enemies, when they are in need. 3. This does not teach that we have to like our enemies or socialize with them. 4. In doing good to our enemies we heap coals of fire upon their head. a. Some people are tormented by the kindness they receive from those they hate. b. Your doing good does not give your enemy the occasion he desires to speak evil of you. D. Scripture forbids us to render evil for evil. 1TH 5:15. E. Rendering to a brother the evil he rendered to you does not save him from his sin. 1. It is the opposite of the loving confrontation the LORD commands. 2. It rather involves you in the same sin. F. Treat the brother as you would have him treat you and let the Lord deal with him. MAT 7:12. G. Do not use rebuke as an occasion to avenge yourself. 1. Uncontrolled anger, railing, false accusations, and evil speaking do not constitute Scriptural rebuke. 2. Rebuke should not be a temper tantrum. 3. Rebuke should rather be Scripturally administered with a goal of saving the brother. X. Another hateful alternative to loving confrontation is bearing a grudge against brethren. v. 18. A. Grudge: “Murmur, murmuring, grumbling; discontent, dissatisfaction; reluctance, unwillingness; Ill-will or resentment due to some special cause, as a personal injury, the superiority of an opponent or rival, or the like.” B. Bearing a grudge is also placed in contrast to loving one's neighbor as oneself. C. Bearing a grudge solves NOTHING and makes the matter worse. 1. Bearing a grudge causes anger to accumulate, which makes one wrathful, which will in turn cause strife. PRO 15:18. a. Wrathful: “Of persons, etc.: Harbouring wrath; full of anger; enraged, incensed.” b. Wrath: “Vehement or violent anger; intense exasperation or resentment; deep indignation.” 2. He who harbors wrath (wrathful) is bearing a grudge (resentment). 3. Anger should be dealt with on a daily basis rather than being allowed to increase. Loving Confrontation and Its Hateful Alternatives Page 4 of 5EPH 4:26, 31. D. Either confront the person with whom you are discontent or else drop the matter. E. Beware of envy as this will breed grudges. 1. Envy: “Malignant or hostile feeling; ill-will, malice, enmity; The feeling of mortification and ill-will occasioned by the contemplation of superior advantages possessed by another.” 2. Examples of envy are found in GEN 30:1; 37:11; PSA 106:16; MAR 15:10; 1CO 3:3. 3. Envy is a tool of hatred. EZE 35:11. 4. No one can stand before envy. PRO 27:4. F. In rebuking a brother, are you addressing his sin for his good, which is an act of love, or are you giving vent to a grudge under the guise of Scriptural duty, which is an act of hatred? XI. If you are in controversy with a brother, consider the following. A. Be sure you have just cause for striving with a man. PRO 3:30. B. Consider that your cause will not always appear in the eyes of others as it appears to you PRO 18:17. C. Remember the principle of forbearance which is bearing with, having patience with, putting up with, or tolerating. EPH 4:2. 1. Control your temper and do not be hasty to strive over every thing that might provoke you. PRO 19:11; 25:8. a. Much controversy arises from quick tempers. b. It is a glory to pass over a transgression rather than making an issue over every violation. c. In the end your neighbor might be able to make a better case than you. 2. Do not concern yourself over everything that is said. ECC 7:21-22. XII. If one practices the hateful alternatives to loving confrontation, he not only harms others and destroys peace, but his own spiritual growth is obstructed. 1PE 2:1-3. Loving Confrontation and Its Hateful Alternatives Page 5 of 5