the weblog of Alan Knox

We will talk face to face…

Posted by on Mar 4, 2007 in community | 2 comments

I was reading 3 John again a few nights ago. I stopped at the end when I read these sentences:

I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. (3 John 1:13-14 ESV)

John loves the people that he’s writing. In fact, he loves them so much that he prefers to see them “face to face” instead of simply writing to them. Now, John is known as “the beloved disciple”, but he says some things in this short letter that are not very pleasant to say. For instance, he calls out Diotrophes for loving to be in a preeminent position and for not taking care of brothers and sisters who are travelling through his area. Do you think John would even prefer to talk about this face to face?

You see, I love to encourage people face to face. I love to thank people and praise them face to face. But, I don’t like to admonish or chastise people face to face. I don’t like confrontation, but sometimes confrontation is necessary, and it seems best to confront someone face to face.

A few days ago, as I was preparing this post, my friend Lew (at “The Pursuit“) told me of an encounter that he had this week. Last Sunday, Lew was concerned that one brother had hurt another. Instead of sending an email or making a phone call, Lew made arrangements to meet with this brother face to face. When Lew told me about this, he did not know that I was working on this post. His example was a great encouragement and challenge to me.

True community requires that we willingly speak with love to people within the community – both pleasant things and unpleasant things. If we are brothers and sisters – part of the same family – then shouldn’t we want to speak face to face with them, even things that may not be pleasant?

Here’s the thing… I know what I need to do, but I honestly can’t say that I will talk with someone face to face about unpleasant things. I know that is what I need to do – that is what I want to do. But will I be obedient to what the Spirit calls me to do?

So, what am I going to do the next time that I need to confront someone? What am I going to do the next time that I think someone may have hurt another brother or sister? What am I going to do the next time I say something that someone may not want to hear?

I wish I could say that I will be like John (and Paul – 1 Cor 11:34), and look forward to speaking with that brother or sister face to face. On my own, I will probably not do it. Thank God, I am not own my own. I pray that God will make me into the person that He wants me to be, even in this area.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 3-5-2007


    If it were not for Stan and Gary encouraging me to talk to our brother face-to-face, I probably would have sent an email. I, also, do not like confrontation. And I was very nervous.

    I am not sure if it makes a difference (it probably does), but I think we should be careful not to talk to people face-to-face only when we have some criticism to give, or something negative to say. I had originally intended on meeting with our brother for a different reason altogether. My original intent had little to do with discipline.

    As you said, it is much easier to edify someone face-to-face than discipline them. Anyways, the meeting went well, part of our meeting was spent discussing what had happened, but the rest of the meeting was for its original purpose. No feelings were hurt, everything (and everyone) acted in love. I would say that the meeting glorified God as closely as a meeting of that sort could.

    Anyways, thanks for this post.

    God’s Glory,

  2. 3-5-2007


    Thank you for giving us more details about the meeting with your brother. You are correct about only talking with people when we have something negative to say. I sometimes wonder if people refuse to listen to “critique” because that is all they here from some people.