16 June 2008

Anonymous Confrontation is not Biblical

I have been ruminating on a few things and haven't had the ability to write about them because I couldn't separate what was good from what was bad. It's best to keep quiet when you cannot tell the difference between your sanctified and unsanctified thoughts. I am going to write a few articles on biblical confrontation.

James White, a scholar and apologist says this: What you win them with is what you win them to. As an apologist he is talking about presenting unbelievers with the gospel in its entirety. No watering it down, no repackaging it to make it more marketable... just the biblical facts. I agree and would carry it further. Christians need to heed the same admonition when dealing with other believers as well. Cut the Word straight and present it as it stands. No cutting corners. No making up your own rules as you go along.

One of the hard things about being a counselor is that you are brought into circumstances that don't involve you personally but they still get to you. I am miffed about something and, although it is not my story to tell, I think there is something of benefit in discussing the topic, but not the details of what has me miffed. In previous posts I have said that I love confrontation. I think biblical confrontation is one of the greatest gifts God has given us for growing deeper in the faith and glorifying Him. It is also one of the most misused and misunderstood biblical concepts. Matthew 18 is often cited but rarely followed.

The bible is clear about how loving confrontation is to be conducted among believers. Nowhere, and I mean absolutely nowhere is there an instruction or the slightest intimation that biblical confrontation can or should be done anonymously. Why? It is impossible to restore a relationship with anonymity.

Confrontation should always be done in a loving manner with the purpose of reconciliation. This is why the model of confrontation in Matthew 18 begins with a personal conversation between two believers. The next step is to come back with more witnesses to the offense. And lastly, if it remains unresolved you and the witnesses bring it before the church. Does that seem anonymous? Hardly!

Anonymous confrontations or third party confrontations are cowardly. The only reason for an anonymous confrontation is fear of the consequences. I can see not wanting to be alone when you confront your husband for beating you, chances are good that you will anger him and could get hurt. However, even then the confrontation should be done by you with the help of law enforcement or your pastor. If you are too afraid to confront someone yourself, ask God to make the deed known...but don't stoop to third parties or anonymous letters. If you do not have the intestinal fortitude to come out from under your rock or other hiding place, then keep your mouth shut or your fingers off the keyboard. If you really love another believer and they have sinned against you, you tell them. If they don't listen to you, you come back with others who have witnessed the offense. If you cannot do this, you have no business carrying matters further.

Why on earth do believers feel justified in hit and run, drive by exhortations, corrections and confrontations? Shame on you for not being willing to put your name next to your conviction! Shame on you for running to a third party to have them do your job! It's akin to bringing a friend over to someone else to let them witness or share the gospel because you're uncomfortable doing it. Shame on you for not doing it yourself! What are pastors and elders thinking when they allow people to convince them to act on their behalf in a confrontation before the person has done what is their biblical responsibility.

Circumventing the biblical methods of confrontation by involving a third party that hasn't been a witness is nothing more than gossip. Gossip is a sin. It is character assassination of the worst kind. The bible warns us plenty to mind what we say. Matthew 12:36-37 36 "And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment.
37 "For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned."

How is being afraid to follow the biblical method and employing someone else to do the confrontation a sin? It means you are more fearful of their reaction than you are of following God's instruction. How can you fear man more than God and confront them with the truth of God? When you follow God's directives you have God's authority behind you. When you make up stuff to suit your situation rather than following the biblical directives you are exposing yourself and the other person involved to evil. What we say with our mouths or type with our hands causes us more trouble than we realize.

James 3:8-11
8 But no one can tame the tongue; {it is} a restless evil {and} full of deadly poison.
9 With it we bless {our} Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;
10 from the same mouth come {both} blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening {both} fresh and bitter {water}

So you think your brother or sister has sinned? What ever happened to pleading with them? Are you certain your conviction must be another's conviction as well? In your world must everyone's sanctification be synchronized with yours? Are you merely hiding behind half truths and partial adherence to verses? For the love of Christ, quit trying to blindside people with your convictions. If what you win them with is what you win them to, be careful your confrontations aren't making pharisees, legalists and gossips.

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