Great Question

Confronting Sin Versus a Critical Spirit

What's the difference between "seeing sin" in someone else's life and confronting it, and having a critical spirit?

The key distinction between recognizing behavior that's ungodly and passing judgment on others is the posture of our heart. Are we aware of other people's mistakes because they trust us and have confided in us, or have we appointed ourselves the "moral police" so as to justify examining blemishes in everyone else's behavior? Is our ultimate goal to help restore prodigals into a redemptive relationship with Jesus, or do we have a hidden agenda to elevate ourselves by condemning those around us? Be honest now!

What Does God Say About This?

Here are two oft-quoted Scriptures about confronting someone else's sin:

"If your fellow believer sins against you, go and tell him in private what he did wrong. If he listens to you, you have helped that person to be your brother or sister again. But if he refuses to listen, go to him again and take one or two other people with you. … If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen to the church, then treat him like a person who does not believe in God or like a tax collector" (Matthew 18:15-17, NCV).
"If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:1-3, ESV).

The first passage applies solely to professing Christians and includes disciplinary consequences. The second is gentler in tone and more general in application. And while both examples encourage straightforward dialogue about ungodly behavior, they also clarify the respectful parameters in which those hard conversations should take place.

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