Biblical Christian Counsel
How should the Christian respond when he or she knows that something must be said to someone that is not going to be welcomed. When the Christian feels that God is prompting them to engage, or confront, someone about a sensitive issue, how is the Christian to proceed? What is the basic axiom that should guide the Christian as he or she attempts to counsel, witness, reprove, or otherwise engage in the biblical correction of another person?
The Truth in Love
The Bible tells us that we should, "Speak the truth in love." (Ephesians 4:15)
This is a two-sided action. First, what we say must be the truth. We must be sure that what we are about to say is what God wants us to say. We should be sure that it is God approved, as it were. Much prayer should have gone on before any words are uttered.
The other half of this action is that the encounter must be motivated by love and carried out in the spirit of love. It cannot be a heavy handed, holier-than-thou, confrontation that does more harm than good.
God's Help, Not Self Help
Turning a person's focus in on themselves instead of toward God is not helpful. It actually results in making oneself into an idol; relying more on self than on God. The power needed to change the heart is spiritual power which only comes through an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Apart from God we can do nothing to rescue ourselves.
Focusing on Symptoms
We also must not promote a cure that consists of fixing the symptoms to make a person feel better without addressing the real problem. A doctor would not be considered very good if he/she merely treated the symptoms of an illness while never addressing the actual illness itself. This would be deception of a most dangerous kind.
How much more dangerous to convince someone that they are innocent in God's eyes when in reality they are guilty (Romans 3:10) and deserving of His judgment?
Whenever we seek to counsel, console, or reprove anyone, we need to maintain the balance between truth and love. We must not sacrifice the truth in the name of love, nor should we deliver the truth in a less than loving manner.
By "speaking the truth in love" we are able to encourage people in their walk with God and not push them away from Him by employing a mean, judgmental attitude.