As pastors, we have (I hope) a natural bent towards helping people. When people come with issues in their Christian life (sin, spiritual questions, etc) we want to help them through it. But that’s the key… through it, as in out of it, or dealing with it.
There will be some people who don’t want to be pastored through it. They want want to go over the same things over and over again. You have the same conversation, with little variance. They come with a “new” issue, but it’s really just the same issue in different words. Beware. What starts so innocently, can become a big issue. See 2Timothy 2:14-17…
Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene.
So, some helpful questions…
- Who else have you chatted through this issue with?
- How many times have you and I had this conversation?
- What did I tell you last time?
- Why haven’t you taken my/other people’s advice?
- I think we’ve reached the point where talking about this issue any more is of no value.
- I’m concerned you’re more interested in talking than changing. That’s ungodly. Stop it and drop it.