Tripp begins by ensuring that our agenda is straight as confrontation is a normal part of relationship.  Our agenda must be driven as ambassadors of God’s redemptive work.  He lays out his steps of the confrontation process.  The goal is not to give people a list of changes from Scripture or tell them what we think of them.  We want to help people understand what is wrong and lead them to repentance.  He presents four steps that frame the confrontation process:

  1.  Consideration.  What does this person need to see (about himself, God, others, life, truth, change) that he does not see and how can I help him see it?[1]  We work from God’s agenda and forsake our own in order to help others to understand what God wants them to see.  He presents the following helpful questions:
    1. What was going on?
    2. What were you thinking and feeling as it was going on?
    3. What did you do in response?
    4. Why did you do it?
    5. What was the result?
  2. Confession.  If people have looked at themselves in the mirror of Scripture they should have identified sins of heart and behavior that need to be confessed.[2]  Confession is difficult and we need to learn how to lead people to speak humble, specific words of confession to the Lord.  We also must guard against the temptations of ministry (self-righteousness, judgment and condemnation, bitterness and anger, impatience, a lack of gentleness) or it can subvert the confession process.  We really must desire the repentance of the person we’re trying to help or we can be like Jonah.[3]
  3. Commitment.  The first two steps are the “put off” aspect of the confrontation process (Eph 4:22-24).  Commitment is the first step of the “put on” phase of repentance.[4]  We must look for the specific calling of radical new ways of living, thinking, and desires that God wants for this person  We should not soften God’s call for concrete commitments of heart and life.  Commitments should be God-ward and not simply horizontal bargains with the goal of an easier, better life.[5]
  4. Change.  We must not make the easy assumption that change has taken place because the person has gained insight and made new commitments.[6]  Change – not insight or commitment – is the goal and we must not stop the confrontation process prematurely.  Commitment focuses on the “what” while change focuses on the “how”.[7]

Tripp notes that confrontation must have biblical methods as well as goals and brings forth the example of David’s sin and the confrontation of Nathan in 2 Sam 12:1-7.  He notes that, in truth-speaking, the principle is to start with interaction, which includes:  (1) two-way communication,  (2) use of metaphor,  (3) self-confronting statements, and (4) a summary of what God wants to teach the person and call them to a heartfelt commitment.[8]

[1] Tripp, Paul.  Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands.  P&R, Phillipsburg. 2002. Page 223

[2] 228

[3] 229

[4] 230

[5] 230

[6] 231

[7] 231

[8] 235-236