Have you ever had a close friend or family member who was heading in the wrong direction? Maybe she was failing in a fight of sin, or he was just in a really bad situation and had no strength to get out of it. It happens to all of us. Sometimes we may feel helpless, and sometimes we may feel like we should be the superhero in the picture! No matter how we feel, we should lend a helping hand or a word of encouragement. As the Word says, we are to sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).
But there has to be a way to go about doing it. We must season our words with grace and express our concern with an undertone of love in order to be effective. Now, that does not mean sugarcoat your words or omit something from the truth, it just means to be gracious in your speech.
I found myself in a situation like this yesterday: I was encouraging a friend, but when she was not receiving my concern I got frustrated and my tone of voice repelled her. She started to feel attacked! As I stepped back and heard myself, I apologized and assured her that it was all with love.
- As believers, we are called to admonish one another; restrain the spread of sin and evil. Set a standard (God;s standard) and hold to it! Correct each other, but in a gracious way. 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 states 14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer. They are not the enemy! They are still your brother/sister in Christ! So yes, correct them with scripture as your foundation, but don’t turn against them.
- As believers, we are also called to forbear one another ; to be patient and restrain from being hasty. We cannot be so thin-skinned and get offended quickly when somebody is not receiving our encouragement. We are to be patient and make allowances for the faults and weaknesses of others. We all make mistakes and have weakness! So be understanding! Love in-spite of errors! Yes, we get concerned when loved ones are in trouble, but don’t distance yourself or get offended by them. Patience and understanding are key!
- Praying for one another is a must! So before and after you forbear or admonish your brother/sister in Christ, PRAY! Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16). You’d be surprised at what prayer can accomplish!
It takes a balance between admonishing and forbearing to correct one another in a sweet way. The power of life and death lie in the tongue! Be very careful what and how you say things! It is also important to be lead by the Spirit, because there is a time for every thing. So while the Word says to correct one another, there is specific time when we should. Stay alert and aware in the Spirit, and when the time is right, sweetly correct…with love!