When I was growing up, my mother taught me that if I did something wrong, I would be corrected or even punished. I was told, and understood it to be true, that this correction or punishment was done out of love and was for my good. It wasn’t done out of revenge or hate and although my pride was often hurt because of it, I realized soon after, my mother did love me and was trying to teach me how to live with integrity and honor.
These days,it’s hard to tell if correction is really out of love. It appears there is more condemnation rather than loving correction. On one hand we are allowed to express our opinions on morality, but we have to be cautious not to say the wrong thing and offend others. On the other hand, we are bombarded with contradictory messages by people who insist everyone accept diversity but quickly condemn remarks that endorse traditional values which don’t necessarily endorse the world view.
That being said, there are people on both sides of the spectrum that insist on railroading their beliefs and condemning anyone who defies them. Some people use their religion, some use social status and other simply use what the popular majority say. While there is nothing wrong with diversity necessarily, the condemnation and lack of love for all people is the main problem, in my opinion.
It seems that correction not only is being perceived as condemnation but also being condemned itself. First, there is a difference between correction and condemnation, even if people refuse to accept that fact. Just because a person perceives correction as condemnation does not make it so. This difference, however, appears to be completely ignored especially when someone is offended by it.
What the world seems to be asking of Christians, in particular, is compromise. Compromise your remarks, compromise your lifestyle, and perhaps even compromise your belief. If you refuse to compromise, then keep your opinions quiet because no one wants to hear them, especially if they are being corrected.
With this in mind, Christians must turn their hearts to what Jesus taught and remain focused on it. Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you not be judged. For with what judgment you judged, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! first remove the plank from your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Don’t compromise. Matthew 10:32-33 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” We don’t have to railroad our beliefs down anyone’s throats, but we must refuse to be silent while the world shouts it’s defiance. We can stay strong and still love.
What is offense, anyway? Matthew 18:6-7 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offence comes!”
So the offense is not my criticism of you but my persuading you to do or endorse something that is morally wrong. Lying, stealing, killing, envying, adultery and sexual immorality are all sin according to the Bible and Christians must abide by that if we are going to profess to be true Christians. Period.
So, capping it off, my strategy for this scenario is this. If I observe someone behaving in a way that I believe is wrong, the first thing I will do is look at my own behavior. Likely, I will find that I have behaved similarly and must work to live according to what I profess to believe. (If I focus on my Savior, it won’t be work) Second, I will use my life experience to tell someone my belief (not railroad them) and encourage others with love no matter what. Third, no matter what, I will choose to love others and pray that God will open their hearts to Him and His divine correction-with NO condemnation.