In How Do Sinners Help Sinners to Stop Sinning we began to look at the kind of approaches we need to take when trying to help a sinner stop sinning. Personal experience and the Lord’s dealing with sinners teach us that it’s often better to question than to accuse, at least to begin with. It’s usually more productive if the other person supplies the answers and draws the conclusions rather than us telling them.
So what are good questions to ask? What questions are most likely to produce honest answers, contrite conclusions, and repentant action? Here’s a bank of questions that I’ve built up over the years, some of them from my own experience and some of them I’ve learned from others.
NB: I’m not suggesting that you ask every question every time or that this is the order to follow! That’s where prayerful dependence upon the Holy Spirit comes in as we ask THE Counselor for His wisdom and blessing. So much depends upon the person, our relationship to them, and the situation.
DOUBLE NB: Ask yourself the questions first!!
- Do you have any spiritual/mental/emotional/physical/moral/relational difficulties?
- What did you do?
- When do you do it?
- When did you start doing this?
- How often do you do this?
- How long have you been doing it?
- When do you find yourself doing this or wanting to do it?
- What has this sin cost you/others?
- How has this sin damaged you/others?
- What do you gain from this sin?
- What do you think about this sin and its consequences?
- Do you want to stop?
- What have you tried?
- Have you ever succeeded in stopping?
- Is the problem getting better or worse?
- What are the usual steps that lead you into this sin?
- Are there any common factors/places/people that lead to this sin?
- Have you taken any precautions?
- Do you know what God’s Word says about this sin?
- What are you trying to achieve/attain through this sin?
- Is there anyone else involved in this sin with you?
- Where and how do you think I can help you?
- Do you see a way out of this sin?
- Do you know where this sin will take you?
- Are you a Christian? Are you a believer in Jesus Christ?
- What do you understand by “Christian”?
- How were you converted?
- What resources do you depend upon in your life? Family, friends, colleagues, Church.
- What does your devotional life look like?
- Do you have any other spiritual struggles and temptations?
And remember, people answer questions with their bodies as well as their tongues! Watch for changes in facial expressions, posture, and eye-contact. Listen for changes in tone of voice, volume, hesitation, etc.
What other questions have you found useful in speaking to people about sin? Please add them in the comments.