Do you enjoy correcting a fellow believer who’s behaving inappropriately? I don’t, yet admonishing is part of our job description as disciplers; the Scriptures exhort us to love other believers enough to confront them. Four words from 2 Timothy 3:16 get at the heart of godly restoration.
Teach. Before you confront, ask: Does he know the teaching? If someone is engaging in destructive criticism, does he understand the Bible’s teaching about a critical spirit? If you suspect he does not, do a short Bible study with him on the topic.
Reprove. This word means to expose or convince, perhaps like this: “Will you give me permission to mention something I’ve noticed?” If he says OK, you can continue. “I may have misheard you, but I thought you said some harsh things about the new guy in your class. That seems inconsistent with what the Scriptures teach. Do you see what I’m saying?”
Correct. Move on to the more positive area of correcting: “I struggle with harshness at times, also. Let’s determine to eliminate harsh comments about anyone from our lives, OK?”
Training. Finally, use the Word to nurture, build & strengthen. Slow, continuous transformation into Christlikeness will be the result.
Though confronting involves risk, it isn’t optional. By following biblical guidelines, we can fulfill the mandate to “admonish one another” even as we are “speaking the truth in love.”