Managing Confrontation


How To Make A Point Without Making An Enemy

It is difficult to say the right thing, the right way, at the right time—particularly in tense situations. Nevertheless, as that is God’s desire for His people, that needs to be our goal.  It is true that sometimes a witty remark can silence a confrontational critic:   It is said that such a woman confronted Winston Churchill one day saying: “Winston, if you were my husband I’d put poison in your coffee.”  Churchill quickly replied: “Madam, if you were my wife I’d drink it.”  The retort so shocked  to the lady of standing that she was, at least for a time, rendered speechless.   Churchill’s response was quotable, and effective at silencing the confrontational woman, but, from a spiritual point of view, it does not represent the most effective witness one could have for the Lord.

Is it important for individuals to know how to deal with confrontational people? Yes.  And it is also important to be able to know when and how to confront individuals, in truth and love, when sin abounds. Therefore, as the probability for being able to avoid confrontation is exceedingly low—and as God’s expectations for His people regarding effectively responding to and managing confrontation is high, it is wise to discern what the Bible has to say on this important subject.

Indeed there is an art to effectively navigating the sensitive moments of life.  With regard to confrontation, the teaching video below (and accompanying notes from a study on Matthew 18)   presents my thoughts on what I believe is helpful to know, and what the Word encourages individuals to do.   As there will likely be times when, without notice or warning, you will find yourself confronted and needing to respond wisely and quickly (or a situation will arise that you will need to lead in addressing post haste), it is wise to be well prepared  and versed before those situations arise

My prayer is that the teaching message below (and the accompanying study notes) will prove helpful in, as Scripture enjoins, “live lives worthy of our calling” (Col.1:10; Eph. 4:1).

Here is a link to the teaching on MANAGING CONFRONTATION

Study Notes (Matthew 18)

The directive is twofold:

  1. Deal with barriers that can weaken relationships
  2. Work to ensure that unity in the church is maintained and the name of Christ is not shamed



#1) “If your brother or sister sins… point out their fault…”  (V.15a)

  • New English Bible: …sins against you…  (Cf. Lk. 17:3)
  • 2 Thess. 3:14; 1 Tim. 5:20 (the letter of the law exemplified)
  • John 8:3-7 (the spirit of the law)


#2) “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you.”   (V.15b)


#3) “But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’”  (V.16)


#4) “If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church…”  (V.17a)


#5) “…and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as        you a pagan or a tax collector.”  (V.17b)



  •  Step one: With the right heart
    • In love (John 13:34)
    • With sincerity (1 John 3:18)
    • In confidence (Prov. 11:13)
    • With an emphasis on mercy (Matt. 5:7)
    • With gentleness (Gal. 6:1)
    • Without a ‘log in your own eye’ (Matt. 7:3-5)
    • With due respect (1 Peter 2:17)
    • With discretion (V.15b)


  • Step two: With the right goals
    • Galatians 6:1-5
    • Restoration (Eph. 4:29)
    • Be committed to forget the past, mend the present and safeguard/better the future (Prov. 17:9; 19:11)
    • “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” (Rom. 14:19)
    • With the goal bringing out the best in each other (Heb. 10:24)


  • Step three: With the right words
    • With forethought (Prov. 16:23a)
    • With guarded words (Prov. 13:3)
    • With an understanding that small errors can have big consequences (Prov. 18:20)


  • Step four: At the right time
    • There is a correlation between speaking at the best time and getting the best response (Ecc. 3:7)
    • Compliment in public, critique in private (Prov. 16:23)
    • Let God present an opening (Prov. 25:11)


 With regard to church discipline:

  • The why
    • It is biblical (Luke 17:3; James 5:19-20
    • It impacts the health and potential of a ministry (1 Cor. 11; Rev. 2-3; Joshua 7)
    • It promotes purity (1 Tim. 5:20; 1 Cor. 5)
    • 1 Cor. 5:1-5 /    2 Cor. 2:5-8     /   2 Cor. 5:17-29


  • It pertains to believers only
    • ‘Brothers’ or ‘sisters’ in the Lord


  • It pertains to the following categories of sin
    • Unrepentant, willful, habitual or lifestyle sin
    • Divisive behavior (Rom. 16:17; Titus 3:10)
    • False teaching (1 Tim. 1:3-4)


  • It should be in conjunction with church leadership
    • That is the model of the NT Church in the book of Acts
    • Church leaders are especially accountable to the Lord (James 3:1)



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