In the late-300s A.D., many considered the greatest preacher in the early church to be John of Antioch. So eloquent and powerful was John’s preaching that he was nicknamed “Golden Tongue” or Chrysostom. The ministry of John Chrysostom continues to be studied by church historians 16 centuries later.
Most will never have that infamous of a Golden Tongue. But each of us can still exhibit a different kind of Golden Tongue by loving one another when confrontation is necessary. Few people like confrontations, but they can be life-changing in a positive and powerful way when done for the right reasons with the right motives. Because we live in an era that promotes victimhood and easy offense, loving by confrontation is often a difficult thing for many to do. That’s why it’s important to strive to have a Golden Tongue - specifically a Golden Rule Tongue.
Matthew 7:12 NIV - So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Confront as you would want to be confronted. Confront as you would need to be confronted if the situation called for it. Again, few people like confrontation, but it is a Biblical way to love one another. Use the Golden Rule. Jesus loved by compassionate confrontation. It is a primary way of both evangelism and discipleship, especially church discipline. So when individuals fear that it’s not loving to compassionately confront, they are mistaken. Compassionate confrontation is a Biblical way of demonstrating Christian love, and failure to do so is often a failure to love. Unfortunately, as Jesus also demonstrated, even the most compassionate and loving confrontation may not be well-received. Some people will always prefer the comfort of their own way - no matter how idolatrous, mistaken, or dysfunctional; therefore, some will always refuse to receive compassionate confrontation. It happened to Jesus, so don’t feel too bad.
Mark 10:21-22 NIV - Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
So, what if someone responds negatively to your compassionate confrontation? More importantly, will you respond negatively to someone else’s compassionate confrontation? Either way, consider the proverb that addresses this. A person’s response to compassionate confrontation and correction reveals the state of their soul (or yours). Christ was willing to take the pain to love others. Will you take up your cross and follow Him by “Golden Rule confronting”? Will you receive loving confrontation by giving love back?
Proverbs 9:7-8 NLT - Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. 8 So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you.
Luke 17:3 NCV - So be careful! If another follower sins, warn (rebuke) him, and if he is sorry and stops sinning, forgive him.”