Friday, August 12, 2011

Fraternal Correction

Is it My will that a sinner should die,

saith the Lord God, and not that he should be

converted from his ways, and live?

~Ezechiel 18:23

I find that in this day and age, genuine friendship is neither appreciated nor desired, even among Christians. When one tries to be a good friend by objecting to sin, challenges arise from many: But he's happy. Why can't you just accept me for me? You're mean. My church says it's okay. But she's (basically) a good person.

As Christians, we can agree that we're to love the Lord first and foremost, and then to love one's neighbor as oneself. If we love the Lord, we want what He wants, which is not the death of the sinner, but that he be converted and live (Ezechiel 18:23).

I often hear Christians say something along the lines of “What he doesn't know can't hurt him”; thus, I shouldn't say anything and therefore he can't be held morally responsible. Christ makes it clear that ignorance doesn't excuse. “If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit.” (Matthew 15:14). Both. Not the leader, but both the leader AND the blind follower.

If we love our Lord, and if we love our friends, we cannot remain silent when they sin any more than we could if we knew their physical lives were in danger. “And if the watchman see the sword coming, and sound not the trumpet...I will require his blood at the hand of the watchman.” (Ezechiel 33:6) The sin of our friend will be upon our heads, in the eyes of the Lord, Whose eyes are the only ones that matter.

When we are corrected by friends (or enemies, for that matter) – whether right or wrong – we should not condemn them for daring to call us on the carpet. If they're looking out for our good (or simply pointing out hypocrisy), we need to examine that area of our life and, if we're in the wrong, correct it.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I plan to answer the common objections to fraternal correction. I'd like to end today with this thought:

A true friend values the friend before the friendship, and is ready to sacrifice that friendship for the sake of the friend.