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Dealing with Controlling People - Lesson 06

by Dr. Ray Self


The Christ Model for Dealing with Difficult People

Click Play in the video player window and follow along on the class notes below.

The Christ Model for Dealing with Difficult People

All of us in you have a desire to show people their faults especially when their fault is hurting us. There is a scriptural model for this.

Jesus gave us a very clear method on how to approach a brother or sister in sin –

Matthew 18:15 - "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother."

The first principle is to go to the person in private. Obviously this should only be done if it is safe to do so.

Within principle number one we are to show him his fault but the motivation for doing this must always be love and genuine concern for the other person.

Ephesians 4:15 - but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

Jesus did not say that we should only go to them one time. It may take multiple times.

Matthew 18:16 - "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED."

After you have made a sincere effort to restore your brother or sister then Jesus said you should take one or two witnesses with you to speak to that person.

The principle of witnesses is a Scriptural principle taken from the Law of Moses. It is used to establish truth and facts.

Matthew 18:17 - "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

After a sincere effort has been made in the presence of witnesses to restore your brother or sister who is in sin you then are free to bring it to the church.

This does not mean to announce their sin from the pulpit on Sunday morning.

Jesus is saying take the problem to the church leadership.

If he or she refuses to listen or hear the advice of the church leadership, only at that point are you free to separate yourself completely from them.

Matthew 18:18 - "Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."

The principle of binding and loosing has been talked about many times. This principle is actually used in the context of trying to restore a brother or sister in sin.

Matthew 18:19 - "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven."

Jesus is saying that if we follow his principle of using witnesses in agreement in the restoration of a brother who was in sin that God the father will honor your efforts.

Matthew 18:20 - "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."

When two or three people gathered together in the name of Jesus to restore a brother or sister who was caught up in sin the Lord promises to be with them.

Closing Summary

The primary issue of who is in control has been around from the beginning of mankind.

God desires our unwavering faith and trust with Him in control.

Man’s desire to be in control is in direct opposition to faith and trust.

Controlling people believe that they are the "right" person and others who do not comply with their opinion are the "wrong" person.

Controllers have a fear of what they may find within their own heart and therefore avoid their own stuff at all cost by focusing on controlling others.

Controllers can easily interfere with their victim’s relationship with God.

Being around controlling people is difficult.

You can try to fix or change them but if you attempt to fix or enforce a change on the controller then you have become a controller yourself.

Having healthy boundaries means knowing where you end and another person begins.

What another person thinks of you is none of your business. What you think is your business. What they think is their business.

It is difficult not to allow another person’s words and actions to control us, but that is what God expects. God is a jealous God and He alone wants to be in control.


"Never answer an angry word with an angry word. It's the second one that makes the quarrel" – unknown.

The extent to which you can listen to, understand, and express yourself to be understood, and actively resolve conflict, will determine the level of relationship you can experience with any individual.

Four Common Ways People React to Conflict:

  • Fight to Win
  • Withdraw
  • Yield
  • Lovingly Resolve

Study Questions:

  1. Why do people typically want to show another person their faults? Does this usually work? Yes or no and why.
  2. Why do you think the first contact with the brother or sister in sin should be done in private?
  3. Explain what it means “to speak the truth in love.”
  4. Interpret this scripture in context - Matthew18:20 - "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."

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