Monday, February 23rd, 2015
Fellowship (Part 18)
Essentials: Gentle Correction
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.
Galatians 6:1 (NIV)
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.
2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV)
Because the Lord disciplines the one He loves...
Hebrews 12:6 (NIV)
My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
James 5:19-20 (NASB)
'It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults... to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship' (Henry Ward Beecher).
I remain deeply concerned about America's politically-correct, everybody-wins, people-pleasing culture. It's cheap talk, and I believe we're worth more than a vote or a tweet.
Like Israel did time and again, are we sinking into the deadly condition of moral relativity? 'Everyone did what was right in his own eyes' (Judges 17:6, 21:25). Are we a nation with no center, an orchestra with no conductor; a body with no Head? *
Nothing seems absolutely wrong (even murder), and no one seems absolutely right (even God). But my brethren, moral relativity is a lie from the pit of hell. I, me and mine are puffs of smoke. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Rocks of righteousness.
Even now, 'The Eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him' (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Let those hearts be ours! Be strong in God's Word. Put It in your heart and wear It on your back. Since 'The Lord disciplines the one He loves' (Hebrews 12:6), since 'No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness' (Hebrews 12:11)...
Since 'In every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him' (Acts 10:35), since 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few' (Matthew 9:37), let those few be us.
Since, 'Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another' (Proverbs 27:17), since 'Faithful are the wounds of a friend' (Proverbs 27:6), let those friends be us. Let's take a risk and correct each other with love. Let's take a bruise on our pride to avoid a bankruptcy of our witness. Because if we don't set each other straight, we risk losing ourselves.
To the prophet Ezekiel, God put it this way: 'If I say to the wicked, 'Wicked man, wicked woman, you're on the fast track to death!' and you don't speak up and warn the wicked to change their ways, the wicked will die unwarned in their sins, and I'll hold you responsible...' (Ezekiel 33:7-9).**
Therein, as God's new leaders, take this politically incorrect job of correction and do it gently, but do it. Because God's not into politics. He's into truth.
To Be Continued...
* Previous AMTC Devotion: Christian Pitfalls: Individualism: http://amtcdevotions.org/christian-pitfalls-part-3-individualism
* Previous AMTC Devotion series: Moral Relativity: http://amtcdevotions.org/moral-relativity-aka-whatever-part-1
** 'You, son of man, are the watchman. I've made you a watchman for Israel. The minute you hear a message from me, warn them. If I say to the wicked, 'Wicked man, wicked woman, you're on the fast track to death!' and you don't speak up and warn the wicked to change their ways, the wicked will die unwarned in their sins and I'll hold you responsible for their bloodshed. But if you warn the wicked to change their ways and they don't do it, they'll die in their sins well-warned and at least you will have saved your own life' (Ezekiel 33:7-9, The Message).
** Keep in mind Ezekiel's correction was intended for his brethren, as should be our own. Correcting people still ignorant of sin is no Christian's job. Rather, it's to gently invite them into a fellowship of faith. If they enter, and God enters them, His Holy Spirit begins the job of conviction and reconstruction... as He does for us.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Fellowship series.