I remember the first time I was exposed to confrontation in ministry.  I was a 17 year old on a summer ministry experience and decided that making a joke at the expense of a teammate was more important than him feeling self worth.  I was a prideful, team chemistry killing, sin machine.  It wasn’t the end of the world, but it did need confronted.

Anyone who wants to see growth in people’s lives they live with, work with, or minister to is going to be in situations that need confronted.  As imperfect people who represent a perfect message from time to time you will need to confront patterns of sin.

Matthew 18:15-17 is the passage that all confrontation situations should be measured up against as it gives obvious easy instructions on how to handle things. When I  am in a situation of confrontation I also like to remember some advice I was once taught that compliments the Bible’s wisdom.

Here are the rules of confrontation I was taught to compliment Matthew 18…


There is a reason you are confronting this person so let them know that you see potential in them as a friend, influencer of people, or someone people follow.  Name something they do well that you appreciate so that you set the plate for them to hear what you are about to say.


Matthew 18 is clear on this so just follow it and speak to the person head on humbly bringing the issue to their attention in love.

I say humbly because I was recently reminded by Ephesians that we don’t just speak the truth in love and use that as a license to be insensitive or say whatever you want.  We must do it with their best interest in mind and with a humility that makes us deserve to be listened to.

(if they don’t listen you have to bring a witness and try again, but lets pretend they do for this post)


Just like you started with a compliment, you should end with one. It is easy to jump right into the problem (once you work up the courage) and it is just as easy to harp on the problem and tear the person down, rather than guiding them and caring for them.  Make sure you don’t leave the bad taste in their mouth with your attitude or words. They might be hurt or caught of guard by your confrontation but they shouldn’t be hurt by your approach.



  1. Mark,
    Do I remember this conflict? I think I was around when you were 17. It made me think of our time in Philly.
    I’m in Africa.

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