I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time with know-it-alls. Especially religious know-it-alls. Know what I mean? It’s not a new problem.
Paul wrote to Timothy about these people too. They wanted to be teachers in the church at Ephesus, but they frankly just didn’t know what they were talking about. When it came down to it, they didn’t love the church or their fellow Christians. They just loved to hear themselves talk!
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. 1 Timothy 1:5-7
There is a great lesson here for both sides of disciplemaking: evangelism and spurring one another on to grow. People who don't know Christ will respond to someone who loves them, rather than a person who wants to tell them what's wrong with their life or some pious 3-step process to solve their problems. Just because you know someone's lost, doesn't mean it's your job save them. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. You're just there to help with the journey.
We've all met "that guy" that can't wait for you to stop talking so he can tell you what you need to do. Don't be that guy. A Christian brother who is struggling needs you to listen and encourage (empathy), not pontificate or be condescending.
People can tell whether you are speaking out of love or selfishness. Before you talk, check your heart and your motives. Is your conscience clear and your faith sincere? These are the hallmarks of love, says Paul. They are what make a man credible when he speaks.
Brett Clemmer is our VP of Leadership Development, training, speaking and writing on behalf of the ministry. He joined Man in the Mirror in 2000 after a career in business and human services. Along with Patrick Morley and David Delk, Brett is the co-author of No Man Left Behind. Brett married Kimberly in 1991, and they have a daughter and son, both in college.