Last month I was reminded on two occasions of the need and importance of correction, particularly within the body of Christ. As Christians sometimes we can be quick to preach that “only God can judge me” misquoting a particular verse in Matthew 7 whereby Jesus says in verse 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged”. When in fact, the popular phrase is a lyric by the late rapper, 2Pac and not a Bible verse.
The Bible warns us in verse 2 that “in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” But does this mean that we cannot correct our brothers and sisters in Christ when we can clearly see them habitually sinning? It’s an area that we must treat with great care, but ultimately I believe the main concern is avoiding conducting ourselves hypocritically whilst correcting another person’s sin. As the Bible describes it, pointing at a speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye before taking out the plank in your own (verse 3).
However, we must not ignore verses 4-5 which instructs us to first take out the plank in our own eye (deal with our own sin) and then we will be able to see more clearly to remove the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye (correct someone else who is sinning). The onus to correct others does not disappear just because we have the same duty to correct ourselves.
Next, I want to address the method in which we correct others, the cornerstone of my argument. I believe Christians are often attacked for being judgmental because of the approach we sometimes take to addressing sin with others.
A recent example of this which some of my younger readers may be familiar with is the BKChat Ldn episode whereby Max, a Christian cast member, gave his views on homosexuality. It’s fair to conclude that his message that “homosexuality is a sin” was not well received by his fellow cast members, not just because of the controversial nature of it’s content. The Bible does say that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of heaven, there is no secret about that (1 Corinthians 6:9). However, I personally believe that Max’s delivery distorted the effectiveness of his message and had a negative impact on the way it was received.
As a Christian viewer, I can appreciate that preaching the word of God before non-believers can be difficult particularly when you’re facing direct adversity and opposition, but we must always remember to speak the truth in love! Let me explain…
If you correct someone from a place of spitefulness, anger or hatred, they are far less likely to hear you. This can even include the tone in which you speak, do you genuinely sound loving or are your words sharp, rude or harsh? In my opinion, your message could lose authenticity/effectiveness no matter how true it may have been if you do not keep patience and love at the forefront. Furthermore, the Bible tells us explicitly to encourage one another, to be patient with one another when speaking the truth (the Word of God) and ultimately to do everything in love. Think about why you are correcting the person in the first place, is it not because you love them? If so, then it must show in your delivery!
Contrary to popular belief, Christians need each other to uphold one another. It’s an important form of accountability. Aside from personal convictions which can correct our sins, iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). In conclusion, I believe that we should not be afraid to correct our brothers and sisters. But we must always remember to do so in love and with patience. This requires us not to be hypocritical of our own sins and acknowledge that God is the ultimate judge of character, able to condemn people. You need not be spotless before you can correct someone because nobody is perfect, but it’s a very fine balance to strike and a difficult task. This is why we need God’s wisdom in us to navigate such situations (James 1:5-6).
Reference Scriptures – Matthew 7 (on judging others), 1 Corinthians 16:14 (do everything in love), Ephesians 4:14-16 (on unity and maturity in the body of Christ & speaking the truth in love), 2 Tim 3:16-17 (God uses scripture to correct us, teaching us right from wrong).
That’s all from me today! I know this is a pretty hefty/controversial topic so I’d love for you guys to share your thoughts with me in the comments. I encourage you to read the reference scriptures above (and more!) and come to your own conclusion.
What do you think – should Christians correct each other? What do you think is the best approach to take? Let’s discuss.
God bless you!
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. — Ephesians 4:14-16
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