Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Written by: Marshall King
Have you noticed how often people say, “Why can’t you accept me for who I am?” Or, “Why are you so intolerant?” Everyone longs to be accepted and loved. It seems like over the past 10 years or so, people have become more sensitive, even defensive, when sensitive topics are brought up. The reactions are not surprising from a world-view perspective. From my experience, the reactions are not noticeably different among Christians.
Paul spoke to the Corinthian church on the subject of sexual immorality, greed, drunkenness, and idolatry among people who called themselves a brother or sister in Christ.
1 Corinthians 5:12-13 says, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you.”
It is clear from Paul’s teaching that Christians have no business judging people who are not Christ-followers. That is for God to judge.
Today’s passage from Proverbs encourages believers to confront or rebuke their brother or sister in Christ, in love and truth. Too often, Christians are reluctant to confront their brother or sister in Christ when they are engaged in sinful behavior.
The church body is called to speak God’s truth with grace and love among believers. James teaches if anyone among you [believers] wanders from the truth and someone brings him or her back, let him or her know that whoever brings back a sinner from his or her wandering will save his or her soul from [spiritual] death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20).
Thought of the day: Do you find it difficult to discuss sinful behaviors occurring among friends or family members who profess to be Christ-followers? Do you avoid having the difficult conversations in order to maintain your friendship and to avoid conflict? If so, you are not alone. God is ultimately the judge and He disciplines His children out of love when they disobey his commandments and teaching. He prompts us, through His Holy Spirit, to confront or rebuke a fellow believer who is engaged in sinful behaviors with grace, truth and in love. Do you love your friend or family member enough to do what God is prompting you to do?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray that You would give me the wisdom to see what You see and the courage to do what You ask me to do to restore my brother or sister. Help me to communicate the truth with grace and love. Amen.