Confrontation is never fun, even when it is done in the most loving and godly way. Several years ago, I started a diet to lose weight I needed to lose. But an old eating disorder resurfaced and before long I was losing too much weight, too fast and I was putting my life at risk. One of my friends who had celebrated every pound lost became concerned and she cornered me one morning after church. I tried deflecting and defending myself, but she did not let up until I agreed to make specific healthy changes to my diet. A part of me was angry with her, but a part of me knew she was speaking truth and was brave enough to help me. Another friend happened to walk up at the end of the conversation and when the person confronting left, she gently said, “Wow, she really loves you!” I went home and prayed and put in place accountability, knowing my anorexic brain was incapable of making the healthy choices I needed to make. I eventually entered Christian counseling to work on the disorder. I can honestly say I have always loved that courageous friend who spoke truth to save my life. In the same way, Paul was grieved to hear the Galatians were beginning to follow Judaizers, who were sucking the life out of them by literally turning their hearts from grace to works. In addition, they destroyed the affection the Galatians had for Paul. Paul was confused and hurt by their response to his confrontation and found it necessary to remind them of the loving relationship they had shared while he was in Galatia. Paul didn’t want the Galatians to lose the enjoyment of their salvation and didn’t want them to taint the gospel for whom they would witness. He didn’t want them to try to find satisfaction in their works, he wanted their satisfaction to be in Christ and his finished work. He grieved that they were angry with him and were still moving back to a fear based religion. He loved enough to confront, reminding them of the loving relationship they once had with him. When you are confronted in person or through a sermon, how do you respond? Can you recognize the love in a confrontation?
Father, thank you for providing caring shepherds and friends who love enough to confront. Help us to remember, “faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Prov. 27:6). Help us recognize the false shepherds who want to steal our hearts from You and your truth.