10 Ways to Confront Someone in Sin

Sometimes we must confront someone in sin. That’s never an easy task (or, at least, it shouldn’t be). Here are some thoughts about how we need to confront—and I’m certainly open to hearing your critique.

  1. Biblically. The Scriptures give us guidance in confronting others (e.g., Matt 18:15-20, Gal 6:1). Ignoring the Word is never a wise move.
  2. Prayerfully. We need God’s help and guidance whenever we’re speaking into someone else’s life.
  3. Personally. Using our voice is important when confronting someone. An in-person meeting or phone call is better than a text or email.
  4. Humbly. Were it not for the grace of God, all of us could be caught in the enemy’s web.
  5. Prudently. My point here is this: if we aren’t sure what’s really happening—and thus, we’re still trying to determine the truth—questions for clarification are usually better than accusation.
  6. Quickly. That is not to say we should be hasty; instead, it’s a call to confront sooner than later. The longer a person is in sin, the harder it is to break the pattern.
  7. Clearly. Confrontation is not the time to “beat around the bush.” It’s tough for someone to deal with his or her sin when it’s not defined or specified.
  8. Redemptively. The goal of confrontation should be repentance and restoration; it is not to be proven right.
  9. Sorrowfully. Sometimes we grieve the sin of others more than they do (see this post if you have a prodigal in your life)—but our anguish might move their heart, too.
  10. Mutually. That is, include yourself in the solution if possible: “I want to walk with you toward victory over this struggle.”

What would you add to this list? What would you change on it?


  • Great list, Chuck. The only thing I could add is this: Before “John” confronts “Jimmy” about his sin, if his goal is really ‘redemption, repentance, and restoration’ before God, “John” would do well to examine their relationship & be confident that Jimmy will KNOW John’s wants to help. Confronting sin never works with a troubled relationship. While this seems a ‘no-brainer’ – I have had occasion to counsel a “John” who had no relationship with his “Jimmy”. I tried to stop the encounter, but couldn’t, the result was, well, a mess. The only word (to follow your guidelines) that I could find is “Respectfully” – as in respecting the person as a friend while confronting the sin. I don’t think this rambling is clear, but I hope you can hear my heartbeat as one who has seen this go upside down for the wrong reasons.

  • Jim Taylor says:

    I am truly drawn to the last point, “mutually.” Far too often, if we do take the time and love to confront someone in sin, we confront them and then almost abandon them to turn away from the sin on their own. This is never easy for a new believer, and it can still be a challenge for a mature believer. We should let them know that they are not alone and that we will walk beside them through the struggles, bearing in mind the last part of Galatians 6:1 “Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” My pastor referred this link to our discipleship group and I am so glad that he did.

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