How leaders can grow in the skill to confront in love

Leadership results in confrontation because it demands change. How do you confront someone in love? 

Look at this helpful video where Kobus Meyer shares how to confront someone in love 


2 Samuel 12:1-13

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.The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. 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. And a traveller 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.”

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!And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.”

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 gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. 10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbour, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’”

13 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.

Observation and reflection questions

Context: This is the account when of Nathan the prophet confronted King David after he impregnated Bathsheba and arranged the execution of her husband Uriah.

  1. By what means did Nathan confront the king with the message from the Lord? (verses 1-4)
  2. In your opinion, why did the prophet decide to confront David in that way?
  3. Why would Nathan use the analogy of the “beloved lamb” in confronting David?
  4. After David reacted to the story, how did the prophet confront the king? (verse 7)
  5. What was David’s response to the confrontation and prophetic word? (verse 13)
  6. How did Nathan respond to the King’s confession? (verse 13) Why was this necessary?

Personal reflection and application

Nathan was a wise prophet in that he used a parable of a beloved lamb in confronting the Shepherd-King in this sensitive situation.  He knew that the analogy will speak to the king’s heart, bringing conviction to truth as he delivered the Lord’s message.

  1. Think of a recent confrontation. What makes confrontation difficult for you? Why?
  2. Consider someone you need to confront about something, or someone with whom you have regular conflicts.
  • What is important or precious to the person? What moves the person’s heart?
  • Using Nathan’s method of creating context of this situation, what example or scenario can you sketch to illustrate the truth and gravity of the situation to him or her?
  • As a reflective exercise only: make up a parable similar to Nathan’s (above) to highlight some need for change in this person’s life. What will bring out the needed response?


Pray for wisdom to speak lovingly to the heart, and boldness to confront the person in truth.



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