5 powerful steps to help correct other Christians
Updated: Oct 16, 2019
When correcting someone, do I lovingly inspire and educate, or do I insult them, forcing my opinion?
Yesterday I was finishing up Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. Chapter 4 starts with Paul “imploring” two women to be of one mind. They worked with him while he was in Philippi, spreading the gospel.
I’m sure from spending time with them he saw for himself their actions when ideas clashed. When the report came to Pual that urged him to write to the church in Phillipi, he mentioned them also.
How did he speak to the two and to the others who were involved?
“Be of one mind in the Lord.”
He sets a vision and points out the core issue the two were having.
Paul does this in one thought, but you may find the need to split these into two ideas. Point out the vision or the possible result of what could be if a change happens, then point out the issue that needs correcting.
Both ladies were not of one mind, and this was causing problems for everyone involved. Paul was able to address it by pointing to the vision first, and at the same time, pointed out the issue of not being like-minded in the Lord.
The problem of not being like-minded was the core issue, but Paul will address the topical problem that everyone was seeing manifested in their attitude, down in step four.
I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.
Paul asks for the reader of his letter to help the two ladies, to remind them to rejoice in the Lord always. The two are good workers for the gospel, and they need some encouragement.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
“Let your gentleness be known to all.”
He then encourages them in their strengths and passions.
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
“Be anxious for nothing, but thankful for everything.”
He brings the topical problem up and educates on how to overcome it.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
“God’s peace will guard your heart."
He reassures and gives what the benefit will be. The focus isn’t protection from what others may do to my heart, but rather to make my heart slow to react to others, protecting other hearts from me. This guard is God’s peace in unity under Christ.
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Paul gives a list of what to meditate on when we are anxious and offended. If we can’t focus on giving thanks to God in a trial, then we need to be careful about how we proceed with our words and emotions. This list also reveals the results we can achieve in practicing these five steps.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
A year ago, the Spirit revealed to me that I was being critical toward other believers and searching out their faults!
For the terrible one is brought to nothing,
The scornful one is consumed,
And all who watch for iniquity are cut off—
Who make a man an offender by a word,
And lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate,
And turn aside the just by empty words.
I would see a comment in social media, hear a message someone was sharing, or read the thoughts someone wrote, and I would become offended or critical. I would attempt to engage in sounding friendly but had an interior motive to change their mind to what I thought was right. We have this mentality of not regarding people with respect when we do not agree, and I believe it has worsened from not speaking with people face to face anymore.
Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD,
And their works are in the dark;
They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?”
God has been working on my heart in the 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians. The main take away I try to apply to others in my conduct now is:
“To do all things in Love!”
1 Corinthians 16:14
Let all that you do be done with love.
I am very heartbroken now when I see a comment another believer leaves where they are criticizing another over minuscule differences or slightly skewed details. Don’t get me wrong; I believe we do need to know and understand the true foundations of the Holy Word, but we are to do it in love, not insult. In gentleness and understanding.
So I have three(six) questions I ask myself before engaging with others when I feel the need to correct or educate.
Q1: How can I love this person?
Q2: How can I serve this person?
Q3: Who is to benefit from my engagement?
a: Will I benefit?
b: Will the other person benefit?
c: Will the Body of Christ to benefit?
If any of the answers turn out to be self-seeking, I do not engage in correcting. Instead, I move on to the best plan of action to take.
I want to end on how you can have the highest rate of success when correcting another believer.
In my experience, the best successes I have seen when trying to educate or correct someone is through prayer! Even when I’m at the top of my game with communication and acting in love, we as humans will always have a hard time taking in criticism, especially if there was no prior agreement of accountable.
When I have prayed for others or myself to change, my hopes and expectations of the issue get blown out of the water with what God ends up doing instead.
So go into a quiet and secluded area to pray, no one around, so gossip and boasting do not become a temptation. When the change occurs, give thanks to God and try to resist from approaching the other believer, telling them that you were praying for that change to happen in them. We don’t want to boast or try to take some credit; our reward is spiritual food from the Spirit, and when we will see the Good Shepard face to face.
Don’t forget to give thanks for everything! Come to Jesus from every direction (Mark 1:45) to free yourself from the burdens we place on ourselves. From hardships that others are going through, surrender it to God.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”