How to Confront Someone: Lead with a Story

Nathan takes a wise approach when confronting David about his sins

How to Confront Someone: Lead with a StoryKing David, a man after God’s own heart, is far from perfect. After the Bathsheba affair and the subsequent murder of her husband at the hand of scheming David, God wants to deal with David and restore him to right relationship.

God sends his prophet Nathan to confront David. This is not an assignment I would want: to go tell the king, who as the power to summarily kill me, that he’s a filthy sinner.

Nathan could have marched up to David’s throne, pointed an accusatory finger, and yelled, “You’re a sinner, and you’re going to hell.” I don’t think this would have gone over well.

Instead Nathan takes an indirect approach. He tells David a story. If this tactic sounds familiar, Jesus does the same thing, teaching the people through parables, which give folks an identifiable tale with an underlying spiritual truth.

Nathan’s story begins with “There were two men…” One is rich and one is poor. One is greedy and one is righteous. The greedy one steels from the poor one and…

David can’t contain himself. He pronounces judgement, void of mercy, on the wealthy, greedy man.

Then Nathan drives his point to the heart of David. “You are that man.”

David feels conviction. He simply says, “I have sinned.”

His road to restoration begins. But David’s repentance doesn’t absolve him of the consequences. He will still face punishment. Though God is merciful, he is also just. The two go together.

Though the child of his adultery dies, David and Bathsheba later have another son. His name is Solomon and he succeeds David as king.

I wonder how events might have unfolded had Nathan not began his meeting with David by sharing a story.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 10-12, and today’s post is on 2 Samuel 12:1-8, 11-12.]