Duration: 365 days
WHEN BROTHERS STUMBLE
Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 3:16–23
Ted often startled his buddy, Sam. Whenever they went out to lunch or met for coffee, Ted flirted openly with women who waited on them. In fact, Ted seemed to flirt with almost any attractive woman he saw. At first, his flirting seemed innocent—just joking around and acting friendly. But as time went by, Sam noticed that flirting was turning into something more serious. Ted practically ogled women, and they became a mainstay of his conversation. Worse, because of his travel and work schedule, Ted began to essentially neglect his wife and kids. Sam had conversations with a number of his friends who suspected, as did Sam, that Ted’s behavior went beyond flirting. They had seen clues and heard enough from Ted himself to surmise that Ted had had a couple of affairs.
One day Sam decided to intervene. “I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t consider you a good friend,” Sam began, “and I feel like God wants me to confront you about it.” Sam then shared his concerns about Ted’s lifestyle. But Ted simply denied the accusations, asserting his innocence and the harmlessness of his behavior toward women. “I’m just being a friendly guy,” Ted explained. “What woman doesn’t want to be paid a little attention?”
Little changed. The flirting and inappropriate conversations continued. Eventually Ted‘s wife caught him in one affair, then another. Although they tried to work things out, she became distant, their children rebellious and their home life chaotic. Yet even with his marriage and family unraveling before his eyes, Ted continued making poor choices.
So what good came of Sam’s confrontation? Did he really accomplish anything? Based on Ted’s response and unwillingness to change his behavior, we might think that Sam failed. But in God’s eyes he succeeded. Through Ezekiel, God says that when we lovingly confront a fellow Christian who sins, God sees it as an act of obedience. But if we see a friend who is sinning and do nothing to confront the behavior, that’s a direct act of disobedience.
Most important, while confronting someone’s sin might not seem to do any initial good, speaking up might just save that individual from a destructive and painful life trajectory. God doesn’t hold us accountable for the outcome, but only for our willingness to obey when he calls.
To Take Away
- Have you ever lovingly confronted someone else about a sin? How did he respond?
- Has anyone ever confronted you about a sin? How did you respond?
- Why does God call us to hold others accountable for their actions?
Copyright © 2006 by Zondervan.