Continuing from the last post, I thought about judgment from the other end, from how Brother Jed saw it. What I mean is, how do you deal with someone else’s sin, how do you let them know that they are sinners? Well the simple answer is that we are all sinners, and therefore we all have rebelled against God. We are all as filthy as each other; none of us is more holy or less sinful, for Satan’s hold over us in this world is strong. However, we in Christ have had our eyes opened up to know what sin is and we know when another is sinning. But what do we do when we see our friends, or even strangers, steeped in sin?
To start, you must know that God does not want us to stir up unnecessary trouble. Yes, it is true that Jesus did not come to this world to bring peace, but a sword, but this does not mean that you should go out like Brother Jed and point out where every person has sinned; this leads only to anger and frustration, and is likely to just push others farther away from God. Rather, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you,” (Matthew 18:15) and “If they obeyed [Jesus’] teaching, they will obey yours also.” (John 15:13). When you call out to the masses that they are sinning, it is a very accusatory, impersonal statement. To say that everyone has a problem with lust, or with compulsive lying, or with drunkenness, or anything else is simply not true. Everyone’s hearts are different, and Satan preys upon each one of us individually.
So when you bring your friends close and talk to them privately about their sin, it just feels more personal. To say that you have seen them sin and you want to help them change speaks volumes; it tells them that you care enough about them to look for what tempts them and you care enough to let them know, for they may not even know themselves. But also, when you point out their sin, let them know gently, as said in Galatians 6, so that they may understand where they have sinned and not just feel accused. Let them know gently and offer prayer and suggestions on how they might flee from this sin.
So too be willing to accept criticism from others, and together you may grow stronger in Christ. Gather a few friends to meet every week as a discipleship group, and confess your sins to each other and pray. Tell them where you have struggled with sin, and let them know where you have seen them sin, and hold each other accountable to break the cycle. But above all, just love each other, and thank God for the friends He has so graciously blessed you with!