Is it ever appropriate to tell a person you are evangelizing that they are lying to you?

Recently, I was attempting to proclaim the gospel to an elderly, self-righteous Muslim man. We perceived he was self righteous so we went through the 10 commandments one by one to help him see that he was guilty of breaking God’s laws. But he kept insisting he had not broken the commandments. When we came to the sin of adultery, we explained that if a man looks at a woman with desire for her, he is guilty of breaking that commandment. He actually agreed with this principle but continued to insist that he had never done this. Since this man was justified in his own sight, he was unable to realize his need for a savior. Since I was the one speaking with him about the gospel, I sensed a responsibility to help him realize that he was condemned because until he understands this, he will perish. So, I told him that he was lying to us about not having desired a woman other than his wife. He told me that since I was not God, I could not make such a declaration since I cannot look into his heart. I then told him that I make the declaration based upon what the Bible says about all men and that since he is a man, he is not the exception.


Afterwards, I told some Christians about the conversation and how I had essentially called this man a liar (which ended the conversation). At least two Christians objected to my tactic suggesting that I was closing the door to the opportunity to help this man understand the gospel. In their mind, since the man did not yet possess an understanding of the gospel, it was tragic that my conversation ended this way without him getting the opportunity to understand the gospel. They had difficulty understanding how my approach could qualify as loving.


So, for the record, I wish to state that such a response might be the only loving response possible in light of the current self-righteous, blind condition of this man. I believe that until he sees that he is condemned, the substitutionary death of Jesus will remain completely irrelevant to this man. Who needs a savior if they can attain a right standing with God on the basis of their own righteousness?


I believe I am in good company because the Bible contains examples of godly men who said such things to people who were self-righteous. So, to conclude, I will provide a few examples of holy men speaking things that would greatly offend those who were listening to them.


51You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.

54When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God,  (Acts 7:51-55)


9But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, 10and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord? (Acts 13:9-10)



18But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? (Matthew 22:18)


“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father” (John 8:44)


13“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14£Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

15“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

16“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.17Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that £sanctifies the gold? 18And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.19Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who £dwells in it. 22And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.

23“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

25“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and £self-indulgence. 26Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

27“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’

31“Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.  (Matthew 23:13- 36



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