2 Chronicles 19
As soon as Jehoshaphat returned, he was greeted with a rebuke from Jehu, the seer. Jehu’s rebuke serves as a pattern for us in how we might approach someone who’s taken a wrong turn in order to restore them.
First, he confronts Jehoshaphat’s alliance with Ahab very directly. Ahab’s hatred and disdain for God were well-known and allying himself with wickedness hurt Jehoshaphat’s witness and leadership of his people. Loving someone does not mean accepting whatever they do without question or rebuke. Instead, when we love someone, we want what is best for them, and are willing to lose the relationship rather than to watch silently as they self-destruct.
Jehu next points out the consequences of Jehoshaphat’s sin—that God’s wrath was upon him. Loving someone means we are willing to explain the consequences of their behavior. We don’t sugarcoat it or brush it off. All behavior has consequences and an important part of maturing is considering those consequences and making wise choices based on them. In this case, Jehoshaphat “went out among the people and turned them back to the Lord.” No doubt, the lesson he had learned provided a parable he could share with others. We all fail at times to follow God closely, and suffer consequences — but those circumstances provide us with teaching tools to help others avoid the same pitfall.
Finally, Jehu encouraged Jehoshaphat. He didn’t leave the king wallowing in guilt and self-pity, but reminded him of the good he had done previously, and gave him hope for the future. When we must confront a loved one about sin, we have to bring the conversation back around to a position of hope and encouragement. No matter how far we’ve fallen, God loves and forgives. No matter how much damage we’ve done, God is able to restore. Leaving someone bruised from the realization of their sin is not loving, it’s bullying and demeaning. God’s discipline leads to restoration and reconciliation. His Word says, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
Our purpose and goal in confronting sin must be to restore our brother or sister to a place of service, never to tear them down.