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.


Leaders must grow in the skill to confront in love

Leaders lead, teach and train, and therefore need to confront and correct in love. This is uncomfortable and needs to be done in truth and sensitivity.  Can you grow in this skill?

In this short video Kobus Meyer shares wisdom on how to confront people in a loving and truthful way.


1 Corinthians 1:2-13

2  Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3  Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

4  I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5  That in every thing you are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6  Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7  So that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8  Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9  God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11  For it has been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12  Now this I say, that every one of you said, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.  13  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Observation and reflection questions

  1. To whom was this letter written?
  2. Directly after naming the recipients, what does Paul do in this letter? [verse 3]
  3. We learn a lot about the congregation through Paul’s praise of them. What does Paul praise about this congregation?
  4. According to this portion of the letter, what is the reason Paul mentions for writing this letter? [hint: verses 10-13]
  5. In light of this stated purpose let’s re-evaluate the structure in the opening of the letter. Summarize the intent of each of the following portions and state why Paul does it, taking into account the sensitive nature of the letter.
  • Verses 2
  • Verse 3
  • Verses 4-8
  • Verse 9
  • Verse 10-11
  • Verse 12-13
  1. By starting the letter with affirmation, thanks and praise, how does it help in confronting errors within the congregation?
  2. Note Paul’s use of the question in the sensitive topic. What benefits does the use of a question have in confrontation over a statement? (verse 13)

Personal reflection and application

Paul was a skilled communicator who did not shy away from confrontation or conflict, but embraced the use of sincere affirmation, thanks and praise as well as questions aimed at introspection, calling for change.

  1. Why is conflict and confrontation necessary?
  2. How do you feel about confrontation and conflict?
  3. Consider someone you need to confront about something, or someone with whom you have regular conflicts.
  • Reflect and write down what is good and praiseworthy about the person.
  • Consider the pressing issue or last conflict situation. How can you address this matter in a non-confrontational question so that (a) you affirm the value of the person and your relationship and (b) your perspective of the situation?


Pray about your attitude regarding conflict, and ask God that you will be able to speak the truth in love and not fear to stand of for what is right.