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Jeremy Ham, AiG–U.S., explains the attitude we must have when correcting a fellow believer or when being corrected by a fellow believer.
but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, even Christ (Ephesians 4:15)
Today’s big question: how do I correct a brother or sister in Christ?
As the body of Christ, we are to support each other as we mature and grow in our Christian walk. We still struggle with our flesh, so we fail every now and then, but this is where other believers can correct us and help us move past our mistakes and put Christ first in everything we do. Pointing out errors to other Christians requires extremely delicate handling, and there are certain principles we should follow when doing so.
Paul commands us to speak the truth in love as we help others mature as Christians. We are commanded, first and foremost, to love God with all of our hearts (Matthew 22:37). Furthermore, we should also love others (1 John 4:21). We are all the members of the same body, so hating a fellow believer would not only hurt one person but the whole body. We all have the same goal, and if we have a genuine love for all believers, we will help each other work towards that goal.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1–3)
Along with love, we must approach these matters with humility and patience. Maintaining the unity of the body takes hard work. We should never come across as if we know everything because we also fail at times. However, we know someone who does know everything; God is the One who knows all truth—He is truth. So when we share the truth in love, boast in the Lord and not yourself.
Furthermore, we must make sure we are putting Christ first in every area of our life before we help others to do the same (Matthew 7:5). Make sure you lift everything up in prayer and keep Christ in the forefront of your mind in everything you do.
After applying all the above principles, we should carefully, tactfully, and boldly let the Word of God convict other believers. They may get offended, which is OK as long as the Word of God is doing the “offending.” Sadly, there are times when believers separate over issues. Each believer is accountable to God for his or her actions. Remember, we correct brothers or sisters in Christ because we love them and not because we are being judgmental and prideful.
Today’s big idea: speak the truth in love to fellow believers to help them grow in Christ.
What to pray: ask God to keep you humble and patient and to love everyone as He loves you.