Nathan takes a wise approach when confronting David about his sins
King 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. This story provides an example of how to confront someone.
The Prophet Nathan Confronts David
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…
King David Responds
King 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.]
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.
2 replies on “How to Confront Someone: Lead with a Story”
A rich man killed his neigbor’s wife, raped the man’s young daughter, and then framed the poor man which led to a 36 year prison sentence. The rich man bribed the local officials and took possession of the man’s small home and farm. When the poor man was released from prison, the rich man hired him to work on the farm, but paid him so little for his back-breaking work that he began to starve. The rich man got his church to donate baskets of food for the man. Those that delivered the food began to witness to the poor man and after seeing their generosity the poor man said the prayer of repentance, was baptized and became a Christian.
Mike, that’s a most creative story!