Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Who Has The Right To Correct You?

Does anyone have the right to correct you? I'm not talking about correcting your spelling. I'm talking about correcting your life. Like a Russian nesting doll, there are questions within this question.

First, Have you given anyone permission to correct you? We throw around the term accountability a lot. We have accountability partners. We ask people to hold us accountable, but what is that? If you intend to be a faithful follower of Christ, you must be accountable. Mutual accountability is the result of mutual submission, and we are commanded to be "submitting to one another in the fear of Christ." (Eph.5:21)  To do that, you must choose to allow others to correct you. So, have you?

Second, Who has the right to correct you? If you seriously ask this question, you may have revealed a lack of spiritual maturity in your own life. See, one of the most popular answers to that question is "You have no right to say anything to me, because you, too, are a sinner."  The mature believer has made the decision to allow others to correct him or her. So, if you are humble, you don't care who helps you live a godly life. Even if someone points out your sin maliciously, and that hurts, you decide not to care. You're humble. You've sinned. You hate your sin because you love Jesus, and are thankful that someone jarred you out of your spiritual slumber by confronting your sin. It's just nice when they do it the way the Lord instructed.

There is a passage that teaches the requirements for those who correct others. The question is, are those requirements 1) an evaluation form that we use before we listen to someone who corrects us, or 2) a goal that we should all grow toward. Let's look at what Paul writes about this and break it down.

"Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you won't be tempted also."  (Gal.6:1)

Brothers - the redeemed of Christ who love one another
caught - someone suddenly caught up in sin
spiritual - manifesting the fruit of the Spirit as opposed to the legalist
restore - to put back into place, like a limb that was out of socket
gentle spirit - meekness, kind
watching out for yourselves - humble

So, does this mean that I should only allow fellow Christians, who have the right attitude and are watching out for themselves to rescue me when I have stumbled into sin?  Of course not. If my goal is to be like Christ, then I should welcome every opportunity to be made aware of any way in which I am not following Christ. Don't shoot the messenger, even if he or she has an attitude.

I believe the instruction in this verse is to the corrector, not the corrected. It's not an evaluation I use to judge someone before they rescue me from the trap. It is a guide to encourage me to be a humble spirit-filled follower of Christ so that when I see a brother or sister caught in a trap, I can, with gentleness and kindness, speak the truth in love and help them out of the trap for the glory of God and the health of the body of Christ.

Who has the right to correct you? Well, if you're a faithful follower of Christ whose desire is to be Christlike, then it really doesn't matter who speaks the truth to you. It's incredibly helpful when our correctors do it the way God's Word teaches, but it's not required. If our goal is to be like Christ, then our goal is not to be pampered. If you want a holy heart and a holy life, you will develop a thick skin. If our goal is to be like Christ, we also make it our goal to be filled with the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit so that when we speak the truth it is with the humble love of Christ. 

(The second of a three-part series entitled, "Christian Correction")