Summary: Sometimes, it is necessary to bring about confrontation, not so that you feel better and are happy, but so that relationships are restored, and sinners are brought back to obedience.
What do you do when you are hurt by the sinful actions of others?
Authors Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp provide us with examples of people who are hurt by the sinful actions of others. As you read these stories, you will perhaps identify some of the feelings of frustration that can arise when others sin against us. For some, enduring the continued sinful behavior from others can become more than they can bear.
Example 1: John and Cindy’s marriage is calm, but it is falling apart on the inside. John feels that Cindy doesn’t appreciate his involvement or honor his role as her husband, Cindy feels disrespected by John. He doesn’t ask for her input on crucial decisions. She finds out about them after the fact. Recenfly, John bought a car for their teenage son. Cindy found out about it when father and son drove ut up the driveway. This fueld the bitterness she has harbored for most of their marrige. John and Cindy’s pattern has existed for a long time. Jon thinks the marriage may be over. Though John and Cindy profess faith in Christ, attend church regularly, and pray together as a family, the facade is getting harder to hold together. At amy moment it could come tumbling down. (Paul Tripp and Timothy Lane, How People Change (New Growth Press: Canada, 2008), 17-18.
Example 2: Joan and Bryan married very young. They joked that they would grow up together. Joan grew up, but Bryan didn’t. After ten years of marriage, he still approached life like a teenager. He spent too much time with “the guys: and too much money on his “man toys.” He took as many hunting and fishing vacations without Joan as he took family vacations with her. He went from job to job because he was never focused on his work. He and Joan were always in debt. Bryan said he was a Christian, but he seemed ready to avoid Christian responsibility whenever he could
Joan tried everything to turn Bryan into a responsible man. She tried to make their marriage work. She made their home comfortable and even dragged Bryan to counseling on several occasions. Nothing seemed to help. Bryan was immature and self-absorbed. One day, in desperation, Joan packed up, took their two daughters and drove cross-country to her mother’s. Six months later, she filed for divorce because she could just not go back to “that selfish man.” (Tripp/Lane, 31).
Such are the problems facing many Christians today.
Someone is treating you badly.
What do you do?
Many well intentioned Christians say, I guess that I just have to put up with it. It’s “my cross to bear.”
And so, we put up with a husband’s abusive language,
a teenage child’s rebellious behavior,
a wife’s contentious attitude,
a friends continual gossip,
a disrespectful pastor, or
someone who repeatedly hurts you.
We come to believe that they will never change, and so we must simply endure. That is until we are so miserable and frustrated that we quit.
Walk away from a marriage
Walk away from a relationship
Walk away from a church
Today I want to share with you that you are not resigned to simply endure the abusive, sinful behavior of others. God provides a pattern of confrontation so that the sinner can become obedient to the Lord.
“Taking up your cross” does NOT mean accepting the sinful behavior of others without confrontation. Luke 14:27 "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."
“Bear your cross” means to die to self. Take self off of the throne. It is a symbol of DEATH, not pacifism.
1 - God does not want you to be sinned against
2- God does not want that sinner to continue in their sin!
There are TWO Responses when Someone Sins Against You.
The first is your INTERNAL Response.
For example, we must trust God
We must show grace by not responding in anger or retaliation
We must be patient in suffering. 1 Peter 2:19–20 "For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. " "For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God." 1 Peter 2:23 "When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly."
We must recognize God’s greater purposes in your life. He can bring about good for you even through the abuses and sinful behavior of others.
But our internal response is only one part.
There is also your EXTERNAL Response.
Many of us are far better at our INTERNAL Response