Love Behind Correction
*This was originally written April 12, 2007. Updated from my old school myspace archives.
"The more bad choices you make, the less bad your choices seem."
I had to think about that quote and what it meant to me last night, while in a discussion with someone I care deeply about. We were not discussing our own bad choices, but the choices of people in our lives. People we treasure, as friends.
When is it time to correct a friend, a true brother/sister in Christ regarding a situation that can or may be leading to sin? It is hard to understand the issue because so many people in our society think we should do what we want and that no one should tell us what we should or should not be doing. However, that is not what Scripture says. Scripture encourages us to lead the ones we love away from sin and if it continues to correct them out of love.
Until last night, I did not realize how love can truly motivate correction (except the correction that comes from a parent). To love a friend so much that you are willing to risk their friendship in hopes to stop their sin pattern, in hopes to promote purity and faithfulness in their future marriage. This morning, it is an amazing love that I am beginning to understand.
I thought the correction was harsh and still am not sure I agree with the final decision, but I do not question the motivation behind it. Instead, I desire friendships with women who love me enough and care enough about my walk with the LORD to correct me, even if it initially angers me. I am not encouraging legalism and/or judgement, only deep concern and love for people.
I was asked to pray and study God's Word surrounding the issue, so that I may better understand their decision. I couldn't wait, so last night I opened God's Word and came across a few Scriptures with some applications:
- 2 Corinthians 2:4 Paul writes, "For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you." (as he was correcting the church in Corinth)
- Proverbs 27:6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiples kisses."
- 2 Corinthians 7:8-10 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it-I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while-yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance....Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
- Galatians 6:1-6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
What have I learned since writing this almost three years ago? Sadly, very little. I learned the principle that correcting the sin of a friend, out of love, is beneficial to the friend and the kingdom of God. I have also learned that unless I put the words I write into action, it will remain merely that...WORDS! Because while learning the principle, I have been filled with pride and judgement. I have continued to ignore the sinful situations of friends I claim to love. I have isolated them by gossiping about their problem. I have turned others against them. And I have blasted them with the laws of God...behind their back. Oh the sin of self that needs correcting.
I am thankful for the grace of God. For His filling and giving of second chances. Chances to start a new.
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