1 Samuel 15:“10 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, 11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.”
1 Samuel 15:35; 16:1 “35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel. 16:1 And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.”
We have been examining the various elements of compassion-driven confrontation?
First, let me review:
1. Compassion-driven confrontation does not mean that the confrontation itself is pleasant (2 Samuel 12:1-14).
2. Compassion-driven confrontation confronts with what is known to be true (2 Samuel 12:7, 9b).3. Compassion-driven confrontation keeps the proper perspective (1 Samuel 8:7).
A. Choosing to remember the good about the confronted person while I am confronting gives me proper perspective.
B. Reminding myself what I am capable of gives me the proper perspective.
C. Reminding myself the difference that God’s grace has made in my life gives me the proper perspective.
4. Compassion-driven confrontation keeps the proper priority during the confrontation.
A. The priority should be the relationship.
B. The priority should be what is in best interest of the one being confronted (1 Samuel 12:21-25).
5. Compassion-driven confrontation stays close to the Lord’s leading throughout the confrontation (1 Samuel 8:19-22).
6. Compassion-driven confrontation should only come from the right person and should not be avoided when you are the right person (1 Samuel 3:12-13; 2 Samuel 12:1).
7. Compassion-driven confrontation should come from someone who had treated them justly (1 Samuel 12:3-5).
8. Compassion-driven confrontation ties in the principles of Scripture (1 Samuel 8:19-22; 1 Samuel 12:14-15).
9. Compassion-driven confrontation still exposes the transgression (2 Samuel 12:7a, 9-10).
Now, for the next elements in compassionate confrontation:
10. Compassion-driven confrontation realizes the confronted one has a choice (1 Samuel 12:14-15).
1 Samuel 12:“14 If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God: 15 But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.”
Do you think Samuel wanted to make the choice for his followers? You know he did. But Samuel, as the prophet and as the confronter, was acting in God’s stead and on God’s behalf. And what does God do with us? He gives us a free will so that we can choose to love Him, knowing that we may choose to exercise that will to make choices that will break His heart. And yet, He does not take that free will away from us.
A leader that confronts with compassion does not try to force the follower to make the choice that they want them to make. He should teach and train and guide and explain and lead and persuade; but we cannot force. Romans 6:17 “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”
The person that you confront does not have to listen to you. Because they have a free will, they are able to make wise decisions and foolish decisions. The choices that they make may be awful choices, but they are free to make those awful choices. As the confronter, this may drive you to tears and frustration. There have been many times that I wished I could have made the choice for my follower. I knew what choice they needed to make, but I could not make it for them. My desire for them to make the wisest choice is a good sign that I have the compassion necessary for a wise confrontation.
What our followers are not free to do, however, is to make a choice and then think they get to decide what the consequences of that choice will be. It doesn’t work that way. If our followers make the wrong choice, they must then live with the results of that choice. And, praise the Lord, when they make a wise choice, they will also get to enjoy the results of that choice. Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
11. Compassion-driven confrontation should only come from a confronter who cares enough to be willing to hurt (1 Samuel 15:10-11; 15:35-16:1).
1 Samuel 15:“10 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, 11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.” – This was before the confrontation.
1 Samuel 15:“35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel. 16:1 And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.” – This was after the confrontation.
These two passages deal with Samuel’s confrontation of King Saul who did not obey the Lord in dealing with the Amalekites. In verses 10 and 11 we see Samuel grieving God’s rejection of Saul before he even confronts him and in verses 35 through 16:1 we see him grieving after the confrontation. Do you have the full picture? He is not just grieving for a follower. He is grieving for his most frustrating follower. He’s grieving for the one who would have driven him crazy because of his repeated failure to make the right choice. And, he’s grieving for him all night, both before he gives him the bad news, and after he had to give it. That is the epitome of compassionate confrontation. I don’t want to behave in a way that requires someone to confront me. But if and when I have to be confronted, I want it to be from someone with that kind of compassion.
My final thought to the confronter on this point is that we see from 16:1 that there is a time that God wants us to put it behind us and move on. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it is necessary.
12. Compassion-driven confrontation gives the confronted a chance to restore the relationship (1 Samuel 12:19-24).
1 Samuel 12:“19 And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king. 20 And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; 21 And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. 22 For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. 23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: 24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.”
These verses are a perfect illustration of Samuel trying to restore the relationship between the people and God and the people and himself. He is telling them what to do to receive God’s blessing again and pointing out what he will do to help them.
If my confrontation is driven by compassion, then I want to see my followers get back to a restored relationship with God, with myself and with those they may have hurt. Part of that restored relationship starts by creating in my follower the desire to regain what was lost with me. What if Samuel would have talked to the people about restoring the relationship and the people would have been apathetic. “You know, Samuel, we’ll be fine. Don’t worry about us. If we need you, we’ll call.” That would have been catastrophic.
If you want to see that kind of example, study Saul’s leadership at the end of 1 Samuel 14 where the people intervened so he couldn’t irrationally harm Jonathan. He didn’t help himself in the next chapter either where he blamed his followers for the Amalekite debacle.
Question: When was the last time you confronted a follower and later saw that relationship restored? When was the last time you wept over a follower’s mistakes?