A few months ago, I wrote a series on encouragement. I still think encouraging others is super important. But I want to give you a broader picture, because God doesn’t only call us to encourage others, but to correct them in love.
In “3 Epic Reasons to Encourage Others,” I copy and pasted this quote at the top:
Correction does much, but encouragement does more. ~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
It sounded catchy, but it’s not necessarily biblical. Check out 2 Timothy 3:16–17 to see what I mean:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
I realize that correcting a Christian isn’t popular in our culture that screams, “Don’t judge!” But that’s not how God’s Word looks at it.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted (Gal. 6:1).
Obviously if someone’s not a Christian, we don’t expect them to obey God. They’re dead in their sins. But if someone is a believer, here’s how God tells us to respond to them:
If anyone does not obey . . . warn him as a brother (2 Thess. 3:14–15).
And then in 2 Timothy 4:2:
Be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
It’s scary, I know. As I write this, I think I need to have a conversation with at least one sister in Christ who’s making some foolish, dangerous decisions. I’m afraid I might lose her friendship. But will I fear her or God more?
Is there a believer you need to gently but boldly warn as well? I’d love to hear about it.
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19–20).
Paula (Hendricks) Marsteller is a compassionate Christian communicator.