Have you ever had to speak into a difficult situation? This could be very challenging.
When there is a problem, and you know God is leading you to speak into the situation, don’t be afraid to address it. In Scripture, we see several successful examples of the proper way to accomplish this.
Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, was not afraid to talk to Moses about the need for better organization. We learn in Exodus 18 that Moses respected Jethro, and so when Jethro pointed out a better way to govern the Israelites, Moses was ready to listen.
The prophets of the Old Testament were often instructed to point out the sins of God’s people. These representatives of God provide many examples of initiating difficult dialogue.
We learn in Acts 18:24-28 that God prompted Aquila and Pricilla to approach Apollos, a successful preacher. They recognized some areas in which he needed more training; some areas where his theology was lacking. It may have been difficult for them to approach Apollos and offer to tutor him, suggesting that he still had much to learn. But they obeyed the leading of the Lord and approached Apollos. Apollos was a wise follower of Christ and accepted the wisdom and guidance of this couple. His ministry and message became even more powerful as a result.
The apostle Paul, in the New Testament, carefully addresses the sin and error in the church at Corinth. The John Maxwell Leadership Bible described Paul’s method of managing difficult dialogue as using “The Velvet Covered Brick.”
It is pointed out that Paul dearly loved the people of the church at Corinth. He had founded the church and was invested in their lives. (Acts 18: 1-17) But there was sin in the church that needed to be addressed and Paul could not ignore it.
“It was as if Paul were hitting the Corinthian church on the head with a velvet-covered brick— the brick being his condemnation of their sin, the velvet being his love for those whom God had set apart for good works.
It isn’t always easy to speak correction to those we know are clearly in the wrong. But the Lord uses strong leaders to correct His people, courageous leaders who can speak the truth in love. May each of us whom God has called be that kind of leader.”
The next time you need to speak to someone about a problem, remember these examples that teach us how to approach the situation. Don’t run away, but picture yourself using a velvet-covered brick to lovingly, but firmly deliver your message.
 Maxwell Leadership Bible, page 1390. Thomas Nelson 2002
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