Are you familiar with the term blind spot? We are probably most familiar with this term as it relates to driving. We have blind spots in our car. These are areas in which we cannot see the cars around us. If someone is coming up on your side as you are driving, you can see them in your rear or side view mirror, but there is a certain spot where they disappear. They are still there, but you can't see them in the mirror - this is a blind spot.
We not only have blind spots in driving, we have them in life. Webster's Dictionary defines "blind spot" as: "a prejudice or ignorance that one has but is often unaware of". How many of you know all the areas in you life where you're not living as you should, or where you are living contrary to what the Bible teaches? If you knew you were living contrary to God's word in an area of your life, would you change? If we're honest, we'd have to say that it depends on the area.
We just sang the song "Holiness". We sang, "Holiness, holiness I should long for. Holiness, holiness is what I need. Holiness, holiness is what you want from me." If we really want to live holy lives, we need to deal with the sin in our lives. But we all have blind spots - areas of sin that we are not aware of or have pushed to the side. How do we become aware of these areas? How can we see our blind spots? Paul tells us of God's way or revealing blind spots:
Colossians 3:16 (NKJV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
The word of Christ is to dwell in us, and then we are to teach and admonish one another. The word "admonishing" is the Greek word noutheteo, which is a very significant word. The verb suggests the idea of confronting believers with the error of their way of life on the basis of the Word of God. That confrontation should lead them and guide them into a correct way of life. Paul constantly warned believers:
1 Corinthians 4:14 (NKJV) I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn (noutheteo) you.
As believers, we are called to warn other believers who are in sin. Why is this necessary? Don't those in sin know that they are in sin? Not always! Remember, we all have blind spots; areas in our spiritual life that we can't see.
Now, you might be thinking that if a person is really a man or woman of God, they would know about areas of sin in their lives and not need someone to point them out. You're wrong! We all have blind spots. Do you think that King David was a man of God? Look at what the Bible says about Him:
1 Kings 9:4 (NKJV) "Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments,
1 Kings 11:4 (NKJV) For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.
1 Kings 11:6 (NKJV) Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David.
1 Kings 11:34 (NKJV) 'However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes.
1 Kings 14:8 (NKJV) "and tore the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it to you; and yet you have not been as My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only what was right in My eyes;
1 Kings 15:5 (NKJV) because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.
Acts 13:22 (NKJV) "And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.'
Now, let me ask you again, was David a man of God? Yes, clearly David was a man who "fully followed the Lord", a man "after God's own heat", and yet David had blind spots, did he not?
Do you think that David knew that what he was doing with Bathsheba was sin? I think he knew, but like so many of us, he might have been rationalizing it in some way or somehow suppressing it. What was it that helped David turn from his sin? It was a little help from a friend:
2 Samuel 12:1-7 (NKJV) Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: "There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. 2 "The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. 3 "But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. 4 "And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him." 5 So David's anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! 6 "And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity." 7 Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.
I like Nathan's approach. He didn't verbally attack David or treat him mean. With a well planned out approach, He actually got David to condemn his own actions. Maybe we should learn a few things from this encounter. Well, notice David's response:
2 Samuel 12:13 (NKJV) So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
God used Nathan to warn David and help him see his blind spots. This is not the only time in Scripture that David needed help to see his blind spots. After David's son, Absalom, killed his brother, Amnon, because he raped his sister, Tamar, he fled:
2 Samuel 13:38-39 (NKJV) So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years. 39 And King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon, because he was dead.
David was mourning over the separation from his son, so Joab decides to help out:
2 Samuel 14:1-13 (NKJV) So Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king's heart was concerned about Absalom. 2 And Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman, and said to her, "Please pretend to be a mourner, and put on mourning apparel; do not anoint yourself with oil, but act like a woman who has been mourning a long time for the dead. 3 "Go to the king and speak to him in this manner." So Joab put the words in her mouth. 4 And when the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and prostrated herself, and said, "Help, O king!" 5 Then the king said to her, "What troubles you?" And she answered, "Indeed I am a widow, my husband is dead. 6 "Now your maidservant had two sons; and the two fought with each other in the field, and there was no one to part them, but the one struck the other and killed him. 7 "And now the whole family has risen up against your maidservant, and they said, 'Deliver him who struck his brother, that we may execute him for the life of his brother whom he killed; and we will destroy the heir also.' So they would extinguish my ember that is left, and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant on the earth." 8 Then the king said to the woman, "Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you." 9 And the woman of Tekoa said to the king, "My lord, O king, let the iniquity be on me and on my father's house, and the king and his throne be guiltless." 10 So the king said, "Whoever says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall not touch you anymore." 11 Then she said, "Please let the king remember the LORD your God, and do not permit the avenger of blood to destroy anymore, lest they destroy my son." And he said, "As the LORD lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground." 12 Therefore the woman said, "Please, let your maidservant speak another word to my lord the king." And he said, "Say on." 13 So the woman said: "Why then have you schemed such a thing against the people of God? For the king speaks this thing as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring his banished one home again.
Again, David has his blind spots pointed out, and he responds:
2 Samuel 14:21 (NKJV) And the king said to Joab, "All right, I have granted this thing. Go therefore, bring back the young man Absalom."
David was the King and he needed others to point out his sin, and so do we. David needed a little help from a friend to see and turn from his sin, and at times so do we.
Do you think that it is biblical to warn another believer who is in sin? Is it the right thing to do? Yes, it is! Then why don't we do it? Why don't we warn others when we see them in sin? Maybe it's because:
What is Sin?
1 John 3:4 (NKJV) Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
1 John 5:17 (NKJV) All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.
Sin is disobeying God. It is violating his Holy law. God is the Creator and law giver, and any violation of his moral will is sin. How do we know God's moral will? It is revealed to us in the Bible. Any violation of God's moral will is sin, and sin has consequences.
We need to understand that our sin not only affects us it affects those close to us as well. David's four month old child of Bathsheba died because of David's sin. Think about this, parents. Can you imagine how you would feel if your child died as a result of your sin? It may not be as drastic as death, but your sin does affect those close to you. For example, let's say that your sin is drunkenness. Will it affect others in your home? It sure will, you may be verbally or physically abusive to your family because of it; you may lose your job because of it, and thus not be able to provide for your family; you may drive drunk, and actually end up killing some or all of your family. Our sin affects others.
What if you commit the sin of adultery, will it affect your family? It sure will! You can bring an incurable disease home to your spouse; you could end up in a divorce because of it. Our sin affects others. Sin, all sin, is destructive! Sin causes pain. Don't ever take sin lightly, sin is an affront to God, and it will always cost us. Our salvation is secure, but God will chasten us in this life if we fail to walk in obedience to Him.
James 1:15 (NKJV) Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Get this, believers, sin leads to death.
1 Corinthians 10:8 (NKJV) Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;
Paul is reminding the Corinthians and us that immorality not only displeases God, but it destroys lives. In one day, 23,000 people died. We may think of the Oklahoma bombing and all who died there as a great tragedy, and it was, but here in one day 23,000 people died because of sexual sin. This admonition is very appropriate in our immoral and decadent society.
If we have the conviction that sin destroys, sin damages, and hurts the lives of those involved, we will seek to warn those in sin, we will do it out of love for them and the Lord. It is our duty.
Another reason that we don't warn others is that:
James 5:19-20 (NKJV) Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
"And someone turns him back." - The King James Version says, "And one converts him." But he is not talking about evangelism here, he is talking about turning around a straying believer. Who is to do this? Someone, anyone who is aware of it. This is every believer's responsibility.
Listen to me, believer, I think that a Christian can be in sin and even know it, as David did, and yet still need another believer to help them see it clearly.
A friend of mine, who lives out of state, a man that I studied with, got involved with an unsaved girl. When he told me, I warned him of the dangers of dating a non-Christian. I also warned him of the dangers of sexual sin. That was the last time that I heard from him for a while. The next time I heard from him he confessed to me that he had been involved in sin, and that several other believers had warned him concerning his sin. God used these warnings to turn him from sin. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but it was only after several Christian friends had warned him that he repented of the sin.
It doesn't always work that way. At times, those you warn will get mad at you, it may cost you a friend. But the Scriptures are clear - it is our duty:
1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NKJV) Now we exhort you, brethren, warn (noutheteo) those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.
I was talking to a woman who was working very hard at putting her spiritual life in order and felt that she was making great progress, because she was reading her Bible every day. In the course of our conversation, I could tell that her faithfulness to reading had caused her to become quite proud and self-righteous. I asked her if I could point something out that I saw in her life, and she said that I could. So I told her that I felt she was being very proudfull and self-righteous. She was shocked, but after thinking about it for a while, she agreed and made some major changes in her attitude.
I asked her why she always responded so well when I confronted her about sin in her life. Nobody likes to hear their faults, and often people don't respond very well. This was her answer to me. She said, "Because I know that you love me and only have my best interest in mind when confronting me."
Which brings me to this point, we always need to warn in love. And the warning is most effective when it comes from those who you know care about you. It goes back to our mission statement; we really have the most influence on those who are our friends.
We are all to be aware of what is going on in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we should address their problems through biblical counsel. People rarely receive honest and accurate feed-back from others, so they often continue on the same sinful course, many times to destruction. Though it takes boldness, we must give one another counsel from God's Word.
Astisthenes, the Cynic philosopher, said, "There are only two people who can tell you the truth about yourself - an enemy who has lost his temper and a friend who loves you dearly." God expresses it this way in the book of Proverbs:
Proverbs 27:6 (NKJV) Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
How many believers have refused to rebuke or even caution someone close to them, thinking that they are being a friend by being non-condemning. A good friend does not let us continue on the path to our own destruction.
When we do warn each other, we are to use the Bible, God's Word, and not our own opinion.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Scripture is to be used for doctrine, which teaches us about God and man. It is to be used for reproof or conviction, showing someone his sin and summoning him to repentance. It is proving that charges made against someone are true. Correction is setting a person's life straight. Instruction in righteousness is disciplined training in what is right. The Scriptures have the power to change lives, because they are the word of the living God. It is by the Scriptures that we are brought to maturity and equipped to serve God.
The kingdom of God is not designed for believers to exist in isolation from each other; we are interdependent. We need each other if we are truly going to be what God has called us to be.
Romans 12:5 (NKJV) so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Each believer has unique abilities and insights that are invaluable for building up other believers in the body of Christ. Christianity is to be lived out in community, and God has created us to be dependant both on Him and on one another:
Romans 15:14 (NKJV) Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish (noutheteo) one another.
Believers, we're able to warn, but are we willing? We all have blind spots, but if we work together, we will be able to see much better, and we can avoid that damage that sin brings.
Gene Edwards, in his book, The Inward Journey, says this, "There are always a few hidden flaws in each of us, flaws so well hidden we don't know we have them. (Usually our brothers and sisters know, though. Isn't that fascinating? We can't see our flaws. Others can. Three cheers for close-knit church life.)" (Page 100).
"Why is it that many Christians never change, even in some of the most ideal spiritual circumstances ever known? I don't know the answer, but Chris, I would ask you: "Are you willing ultimately to be confronted concerning weakness in your life, which you seem to be totally unaware?" Whether you are confronted properly or improperly, the fact remains that your reaction to that confrontation will speak volumes of the kind of person you really are." (Page 101).
Because we are often blind to our own faults, we need to be thankful for friends who care enough to bring our faults to our attention and are courageous enough to challenge our conduct. And we need to be that kind of friend to others.