Spiritual confrontation is something that I talk about regularly. I do so in part because it saved me, and in part because I find so few accounts in praise of this side of the Holy Spirit. Confrontation is not necessarily wrathful, though it can be. Confrontation can be quiet or mild or weepy. At it’s most basic level, to confront a believer is to speak Truth to them as the Holy Spirit leads, and the Word is ever full of grace and truth.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 NKJV
When the Holy Spirit initiates a confrontation, the clash is not between two people; it’s between Reality and unreality. Truth and lies. Life and death. Love and hate. God and Satan. We do not confront another person; the indwelling life of Christ within us – the Word – confronts the power that holds them. And that’s why truth comes with grace.
The Amplified Bible defines grace as “the unmerited favor of God” and “loving-kindness.” (Strong’s adds even more details, but these are pretty well covered by the Amplified’s definition.) It is grace that accompanies Truth in every confrontation. And that grace moves heaven and earth to reconcile a receiving heart with Reality. That is my personal testimony, and the witness of anyone who said yes to Truth and removed a mask.
Jesus is the Truth. He is also the Word. And the Word is a sword.
And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.
Eph. 6:17 AMP
A sword is not a construction tool or a cooking implement. A sword is a weapon. Getting pierced with a sword hurts, sometimes unto death. It’s only because the Word is “full of grace” that we are not left in that agony, that death. Grace brings repentance and cleansing and total forgiveness. All we have to do is acknowledge the righteousness of the sword’s strike. And Jesus said that few will do that.
Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Matthew 7:14 NKJV
And that’s the flipside of confrontation. When Truth is rejected, ways are parted because the broad path and the narrow path do not run together. The Rich Young Ruler left Jesus sorrowfully (Mt. 19:16-22). He said no to Truth because he loved the life he had, especially his many things. He rejected Jesus, but as quietly as a rejection can be made. Not so the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Matthew 23 is a wrathful, terrible sword of Truth swinging into the midst of the religious hypocrites. Here is the Lord of War and Thunder, blazing in righteous anger! Truth was rejected here too, but they didn’t just leave Jesus. The religious plotted and schemed and eventually killed Him. That’s a pretty loud rejection.
Disciples won’t be spared rejection, neither the quiet nor the loud. “They will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name. Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Mt. 24:9-11 HCSB). Lies are on the rise and people are less and less bothered by them. Without a love for the Truth, we’re sunk.
The Truth is a Person, full of grace, and to love God is to love the Truth, even when the sword impales your heart. That broken heart is only opening the door to the power of grace, the unmerited favor and loving-kindness of God the Father.