In Part 1 of the “Speaking the Truth in Love” series, we talked about five elements to keep in mind when confronting your disciple about a particular issue that may be hindering her growth in Christ. In this installment, we will look at some sample scripts I have used, along with advice when NOT to confront.
Begin this challenging conversation on a positive note. Share with her something you are proud of her for and affirm her in some specific way. You could tell her you’re proud of a recent step of faith she took, her readiness to learn, or of the single act of bringing a spiritually lost friend to church. Then segue into the truth, always speaking in love.
“Since we’ve begun meeting for discipleship and getting to know each other, there’s something I’ve noticed that I wanted to bring to your attention. It’s hard for me to bring this up because I care about you and don’t want to hurt your feelings. However, because I’m committed to your growth in every area of life, I didn’t want to put off talking about this with you. Over the past _____________ (time period) I’ve noticed that you ____________ (fill in the blank).”
Not only do you want to share the truth in love, but you also need to genuinely help them change for the better.
I remember talking with a disciple, Cheryl, about the critical way she spoke to others. I reminded her of a recent incident in which we brainstormed for an upcoming event. At one point she replied to another woman’s comment with “That’s a stupid idea.”
I gently explained that in the future she could suggest a different idea or say nothing at all. It is not enough to just tell them the truth; help them make the necessary changes. Remember to be specific as you talk. Whatever the issue is, it will be a challenging conversation. But skirting around the real issue won’t help her. It will likely confuse her more.
Knowing when to address an issue and when to keep quiet will take some experience. This list below can help you know when NOT to say anything.
Do not confront a person unless:
- You’ve prayed about the issue and for the woman
- Your motivation is love, grace and her continued growth
- You can clearly identify a specific problem
- You have at least one specific example to back up your concern
- You’re ready to help her change
- You are certain YOU are not the one with an issue
Being confronted with blind spots in my life has helped me grow and mature, as well as minister to others more effectively. This is a necessary part of discipleship relationships — or any friendships, for that matter. Don’t put off talking with someone and speaking the truth in love. They’ll thank you for it later, just as I have thanked those who have pointed out my blind spots over the years!