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Confrontation & Grace in Counseling

The Gopel of love often emphasized on Sunday morning is sometimes seen in conflict with the kind of confrontation that can happen in the context of Biblical Counseling. But we see that confrontation is biblical in Mathew 18:15-17(NIV). This verse not only implies that confrontation is both necessary and biblical, it gives a framework on how to apply confrontation biblically. John 8, the story of the woman accused of adultery, is both an example of confrontation and grace. As is 1 Corinthians 13:6 (NIV), where we are instructed that love (encouragement) rejoices in truth (confrontation) and the two are inseparable in context.

Corinthians 13:6 (NIV) advises us that both truth and love are necessary in helping others. Without truth there is no confrontation which leads to growth. Without love there is no grace, which helps others feel the love of God in the midst of change. Both are treated equally in scripture and give us a framework of how we apply both confrontation and grace in counseling. The story of the woman who was almost stoned is yet another example of how confrontation and encouragement are applied in counseling. Jesus did not ignore the woman’s sins. Rather, he approached them from the throne of grace and expectation. He encouraged the woman in love by not condemning her for her mistakes, and confronted the sin by saying “go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11, NIV)

However, whether it is the context of biblical counseling, pastoral counseling, or one-on-one with a friend, we should never forget who the true healer is. There are limits to the amount of influence we have in another person's life toward change. Mathew 18:17 (NIV) is a great example of how we are to respond to the limits in what we are able to do in other people’s lives. God honors, as should we, our free will. It is always up to the other person whether or not they want to change. If we have done what we are instructed to do by both scripture and the Holy Spirit, we are then instructed to treat that person as we would treat any other person blind to the truth of God - with love, understanding, and compassion. We are to neither take on the burden of savior, nor are we to take on the persistence of trying to poind scripture into their heads. Rather, we step back and see them as we would see anyone else in a situation where they are unable to see what we believe is the truth. Cancel culture is neither productive nor Biblical. Accountability, love, compassion, and understanding leads those to the throne of grace where redemption can be found!

Have a great week!


Biblical Foundations Counselor at Muck & Mire.

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