Correcting One Another
Correcting One Another February 12, 2023
How do we correct others when they openly sin? Our tone, what we say, and how we say it can impact the recipient either positively or negatively.
I do not suggest avoiding admonishment for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Because all Christians are at different stages of learning and maturity, our approach should give consideration to the spiritual maturity of each individual.
A new Christian must put off the “old man,” which may be a process for some and not instantaneous. Willful sin must stop when we put on Christ in baptism for the remission of sins, otherwise there would not be a change of heart and repentance that leads to salvation (II Corinthians 7:10). We all sin and a new Christian is no different. Genuine repentance is striving to do what is right, it is not perfection.
If a new Christian fails in something and is harshly corrected, then our love for them is lacking. As an example, a new Christian may not consider the clothes they wear as being immodest. Modesty is paramount for Christians; however, new converts may not have benefited from the training that comes from being part of a Christian family. If the person is sharply rebuked, our approach is wrong and will likely have the opposite effect. Let love and patience guide your admonishment and correction lest our efforts turn to one of discouragement.
Priscilla and Aquila pulled aside Apollos, who was teaching the baptism of John though Christ had already come. They did not publicly rebuke Apollos. Scripture indicates they privately “explained” to him the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:26).
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).
“Take heed to yourselves, If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17:3-4).
Terry Clark (One of the elders of the Karns church of Christ)