When I was in graduate school, I participated in a Bible study with three other women in my journalism program. We were the lone Christians in a very secular environment. And having their support and encouragement was extremely important to me.
Yet my relationship with one of them ended in an instant.
I discovered that this woman was sleeping with her boyfriend. And I remember wanting to just ignore the issue. But I felt compelled to confront her sin because of Scriptures like Galatians 6:1, which says, “. . . (I)f someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.”
I can’t remember what I said to this friend or how I said it. But I remember vividly her response. Her face turned red and angry and she accused me of judging her. She also said she thought our Bible study was a “welcoming” environment, but clearly it was only for “perfect” Christians. She then cut off our relationship and never returned to our Bible study.
That stung. A lot. And I remember wrestling with guilt, rejection, and feelings of failure afterwards.
But over the past three decades, I’ve found that anger, condemnation, and blame-shifting is a typical response when a believer confronts another believer (or even a Christian institution) about his or her sin. Yet, I’ve never seen this dynamic played out on national TV—until recently.
The interaction happened on “The Bachelorette” TV show and involved two contestants—Luke Parker and Hannah Brown, both of whom profess to be Christians. And though I dislike this show for its voyeurism and immorality and have never watched an episode, I found the two contestants’ interaction, which I saw in the clip below, to be incredibly revealing.
In the clip, Parker confronts Brown for sleeping with other contestants. And in less than eight minutes, Brown rattles off no less than eight deceptive defenses to rationalize her sin.
Unfortunately, these rationalizations are extremely common. I know, because sadly, I’ve used them before to justify my own sin. Yet I list them here because I think recognizing and naming these deceptions is step one toward facing our sin, rather than excusing it.
1. Say another believer has no right to confront you.
When Parker first confronts Brown, she responds, “I’m kind of mad because . . . Why do you have the right to do that because you’re not my husband?”
Nowhere in Scripture does it say only husbands or wives, or those with an especially close relationship, have license to confront someone who’s sinning. The only qualification Scripture gives is that one must be living by the Spirit (Galatians 6:1)—in other words, not gratifying the desires of the sinful flesh.
2. Mislabel godly confrontation as sinful judgment.
Next, Brown turns to the classic, “You’re judging me.”
This defense is so common, I wrote an entire article about it. But in short, the argument that Christians aren’t supposed to judge is based on one verse taken out of context. In Matthew 7:1, Jesus says, “Do not judge or you too will be judged.” But He goes on the say, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
In other words, don’t apply a double-standard and judge someone for a sin you’re equally, or even more guilty, of committing. Instead, Jesus says, “first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” So the solution isn’t to refrain from judging; it’s to fix yourself so you can help fix others.
3. Turn the tables and start accusing the other person.
Brown then shifts from the defensive to the offensive, and argues, “You know what? Sex might be a sin outside of marriage, but pride is a sin too. And I feel like this is a pride thing.” A bit later she says, “You’re holding (me) to a standard you don’t even live by. Maybe because you abstain from sex—but there’s a lot of things that you struggle with.”
This defense kind of throws Parker. After all, who isn’t guilty of pride on at least some level? Parker backs down and says, “You’re right. I didn’t have the right to do that.” But he does have the right. Scripture doesn’t say one has to be sinless to confront someone else. One just has to be living by the Spirit and with integrity when it comes to the sin he or she is confronting.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Julie Roys