Q/A Friday: How do I admonish a fellow Christian?

This is never an easy or “fun” experience, but the Bible instructs us that it is one of the ways we serve one another (Acts 20:31; Colossians 3:16; I Thessalonians 5:12, 14). To admonish is to warn someone strongly about a dangerous, foolish or sinful behavior. It is a stronger form of confrontation or even rebuke.

Before you admonish…

  1. Make sure the sin is worth admonishing. Certainly, God takes all sin seriously, but He also allows us the freedom to cover sin (I Peter 4:8). In other words, we can and should quickly forgive when we are able. Pray God would give you wisdom (James 1:5) on deciding whether you should admonish or cover.
  2. Decide how the admonishment will be anchored in Scripture. Don’t admonish someone because they disappointed you or hurt your feelings. That can become a selfish exercise and leave God out of the equation. Using Scripture to confront sin puts the “sinner” in the rightful place of repenting before God first.
  3. Purify your motives. The goal should be restoration (Galatians 6:1-2). Our aim should not be finger-point, Bible-thumping or excessive judging. We should desire their repentance, change and restoration to fellowship with God and man.

During the admonishment…

  1. Find a private place to talk to them. Don’t admonish someone in the hallway after a church service or meeting them for lunch at a restaurant. Speak to them privately and in person (Matthew 18:15).
  2. Be gentle. The goal is not to break their spirit or alienate them from the body of Christ, but to draw them near with words of grace (Ephesians 4:2).
  3. Be clear and thorough. Help them understand why it is sin. Give examples of the times you have witnessed their sin – making sure the sin has been a pattern and not occasional.

After the admonishing…

  1. Be patient. Repentance and changes always take time. Allow them time to process your words, pray, and make plans to address their sin.
  2. Be available to help. Shepherds don’t just chastise a sheep from wandering; they do what is necessary to help that sheep remain with the fold.

If you have a question you would like to submit to our blog to be answered in the future, please email it to charlesheck@cox.net or post your question in the comments section.

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