This is NOT to discredit the Christian Faith, but to renew it. To learn from our mistakes and move forward.
A Christians challenge: To CorrectA candle gives light to a house when it is dark. Neglect it and you can burn the house down. What I want to say is, how do we look over and take care of our testimony? How do we take care of our actions or our speech? A small fire is a light when it is handled correctly. The same is true with our testimony, our speech, our actions as Christians - the light of the world.
The Christian is challenged to defend the truth, correct the wrong, rebuke the sinner, refute wrong doctrines and teachings. But with these challenges, there is a problem to be addressed within the Christian or the church. Bible believers are known to be "judgmental" for stating the wrong deeds of a person that is based on the Bible itself. You see, the Christian is just doing their "job" in correcting what is wrong. The problem is in how we do it. No matter how truthful the words that you are saying, the way you say it determines its value. The truth that you are proclaiming will also lose its value when you don't practice it.
Preaching God is love means nothing when it is done in a hateful way. Proclaiming about God's grace without showing grace to others also means nothing.
"Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.
Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching."
-2 Timothy 2:4
"Gently instruct those who oppose the truth.
Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts,
and they will learn the truth."
- 2 Timothy 2:25
It is not wrong to defend the truth or correct the wrongOur light as a Christian becomes a wildfire when we don't control it. How we do it is what we need to reflect upon. Here are some reminders when we correct or rebuke someone.
- Do it kindly, gently, with compassion, with love, with humbleness.
- Trust in God's transforming grace, and not rely on I told you this before..etc. It will take patience, your efforts and time.
- Learn when to stop and go. Timing is everything. Read Romans 14:1-12
- Establish a good relationship with them first. Heard this line before? "Who are you to tell me what and what not to do with my body?" If you are not close friends, church mates, or even their pastor, it might not be advisable for you to correct them. Especially with new Christians, who are not grounded well with Biblical truths.
- Be there for them when they are in need, or when facing the consequences of their sin. Do not be the Christian that isolates others, or shuns people away because they don't believe what you believe, or you don't have the same convictions.
Here are some questions that we need to reflect upon
- What is our motive when we correct someone? Is it to point out how correct our view of the Bible is? To prove a point? Or to point the person to the Gospel? [ Do you believe? ]
- How do you correct someone? Are you there as a friend to lift and help the person? Or just bombard them with verses? You see, a pastor is someone who guides and not just tells what to do, or not to do. And a light should be that way too, a guide.
I once had a discussion with someone when I posted this article 5 signs you may have a wrong view of God. One point talks about shaming in the Bible, where God will not use shame to motivate. Then he commented that shame is in the Bible, even placed verses to support his claim. (I suspect that he copied someone else's comment in the article comment section) Shame is what makes us see our sin, and etc. While what he said is true, I viewed his answer as a "judgmental" statement. His comment was loooooong! I don't know why, but it seems like he wants to prove a point.
We discussed, and I commented back with "I think the writer wants to point out that our actions [or service, or even belief] should not be motivated by shame" because the introduction of the post is about viewing God as only an angry God, etc.
Later on, I saw one post of him where it talks about faith being grounded on a theological jello. It felt like it was about me. Is that judgmental? For me it is. (you can read it here)
- How do we view and teach (or use) the Bible? Is it to control a person? A rule book to only be followed? A set of instructions that a Christian must do? Having this kind of view may directly affect how you view others. "Oh, he's not a Christian because he does not follow this verse." [again, read point #1]
There have been a lot of people who got hurt because of Christians telling the truth. The famous line I'd rather be hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie can be applied in this case. The truth should be what will hurt the person, and not us Christians telling the truth. There would be oppositions, "Are you telling me that what I learned growing up is wrong?" There would be guilt, shame, sadness and even anger.
Like I said, no matter how truthful the words that you are saying, the way you say it determines its value. We must control our fire, our light and be a guide. Don't burn the house down. Be responsible with your speech and actions.
"Let your conversation be gracious and attractive
so that you will have the right response for everyone."
- Colossians 4:6