Remember that time, when I saw one of my friends doing something that I thought was inappropriate and confronted her?
Yeah, that didn't go over so well.
Has that ever happened to you?
You meet a new girlfriend for coffee, one time, you get the "yes, ANYTIME you see anything in my life that doesn't measure up to Christ's standards, you have my blessing to tell me", speech and then it's ON!
You've noticed some not-so-appropriate things that could cause future temptation and you feel obligated to tell her about it.
I mean, isn't that what God tells us to do? Confront our brothers and sisters in Christ? Someone needs to keep them accountable, right?!
So you pray about it, you seek council from a trusted friend or two and make sure your intentions are right. You have that overwhelming heaviness to get it out and in the open that you don't agree with what they are doing, and then you go for it.
In the bathroom of a restaurant, during a birthday party, none-the-less, because you simply cannot hold your tongue for another minute.
They NEED you to tell them that they are headed for destruction!
Oh the things I've learned (and AM learning) along the way!
First of all, just because I finally had the time to meet up with this new "friend" ONE TIME for coffee doesn't mean that we have created the kind of relationship that gives me that kind of freedom to speak so openly and accusingly.
Sure, my motives were right, but it wasn't my place.
Secondly, even if I DID have that right, in the bathroom of a restaurant during another friend's birthday party is HARDLY the place and time to bring up this conversation.
Sure, my motives were right, but I had NO self-control over my own tongue to wait until the right time to speak those words.
Thirdly, I had just entered her outer circle of "people". Hardly the inner circle where I have gained the respect to be able to speak those words in love, and have them received in grace.
Sure, my motives were right, but I had no right to speak condemnation to someone whom I had just begun a surface friendship with.
So what can you do when you feel the overwhelming urge to tell someone that they are about to make a big mistake?
1 - Become their friend. I mean a REAL friend. The type of friend who has gained mutual respect to be able to speak those kinds of things into each others lives.
2 - Check yourself. If you feel like you have to say something or else you are going to burst, then maybe that is something inside yourself that needs to be checked! If we feel like this person is going to fail solely because we kept our mouths shut, then we obviously have some issues, believing that we have more power than the Holy Spirit.
3 - Pray for them! I cannot stress this enough. It is not YOU who are going to change this person's heart anyway. It is the Lord, through the softening of the Holy Spirit.
4 - If you have made the same mistake that I did, and confronted this person, at the wrong place and the wrong time, when I had no right, then ask forgiveness of them, and of the Lord, for being so self-righteous. Try to reconcile that relationship and move forward.
It's not easy to be in a situation when you see someone doing something that you don't think is a good idea, but you have to earn that right to be able to speak that truth into their lives, or else it will most likely do more harm than good.
And there is another lesson learned from my mistakes:-)