Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.
For many of us, the idea of confronting our own sin or the sins of another is difficult. For some, it is even terrifying.
Fear plays a tremendous role in neglecting the command in Hebrews 12:12-15. This passage reminds us that when we allow ourselves to be weakened by fear, what is lame is put out of joint. Our hands need to be lifted, our knees need to be strengthened, and our feet need to be set on a straight path.
But how do we step out of the fear of confrontation and into the grace that comes when we shed light on what is dark? Particularly for those who fear rejection because they have suffered at the hands of others, what can we do to become strong enough to step out in faith and initiate difficult conversations?
1 John 4:18-19 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us.” Because the Father loves us so dearly, we are called and compelled to love one another. Fear tells us to hide because it has to do with punishment. But our Father loves us enough to challenge us. He wants us to face sin head-on and put it to death. We cannot do that if we live in fear.
The act of striving for peace indicates difficult work. Seeking peace is not an easy task. It requires selflessness and courage. It summons us to lay down our pride and fear and trust in God’s grace. Notice that in 1 John 4:18, we are reminded that those who fear have not been perfected in love. The reason is that the kind of love that is willing to confront with grace and truth is God’s love. It is a perfect love because it seeks the good of the other instead of one’s own comfort.
In my flesh, I really dislike confrontation. But if I’m honest, it’s not because I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. It’s because I fear they’ll be upset with me. In these moments I must cry out to the Father to lift my hands, strengthen my knees and make a straight path for my feet. Only He can give me the love of Christ that willingly strives for peace.
May we be a people who strive for peace through shining light in dark places, both for ourselves and for others. May we seek His counsel in showering grace and truth onto our brothers and sisters, whether we are confronting their sin or confessing our own.
Note: If you are thinking about confronting someone who has wronged you personally, we encourage you to seek wise, biblical counsel first. It’s important to check your own heart to make sure you’re not simply airing your grievances. The purpose of confronting someone is to bring about reconciliation through gracious conversation.