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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…
- 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).
- 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).
- 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…
- Be patient. Repentance and changes always take time. Allow them time to process your words, pray, and make plans to address their sin.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or post your question in the comments section.