Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21).
Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses (Prov 27:5-6).
But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning (1 Tim 5:20).
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted (Gal 6:1).
On Sunday, I was getting ready to do a missions window at a local church, sharing with the people of that church what I do and the strategic asset that Chi Alpha ministry is and the passion God has given me for this work. Since I was going to stand in front of a bunch of people, I wanted to look good. Naturally.
So as I was getting ready to head out the door, I looked in the mirror. Now, I always dress with a button-up shirt over a t-shirt. And as I looked in the mirror, I saw that my t-shirt was sticking out under my button-up, and that it looked bad. It looked sloppy. “Ah, I should tuck in my t-shirt,” I thought. And then I realized something:
I’ve been dressing like this, with a button-up shirt over a t-shirt, for over five years. I’ve never once tucked in my t-shirt.
I thought it was hilarious, in part. I mean, fashion and I are just not well acquainted at all. But part of me was also kind of mortified. I mean, I’ve been dressing like this for five years. Which means I’ve looked sloppy for five years.
I wished someone had told me. Because as I said, fashion and I just don’t really get along. I have no clue when it comes to dressing well. I’ve slowly picked up things along the way, but it’s not something I just know. I need people to tell me what looks good and what doesn’t. I need correction.
As our director at Missouri State, Andy Estrella said in his message last night, have you ever gotten home at the end of the day, looked in the mirror, and spotted something in your teeth? Your first thought is, “How long has that been there?” And then you find out it’s something from breakfast and you realize that this has been there all day and everyone you’ve talked to has seen it.
And you immediately wish someone had told you about it. You wish someone had cared about you enough to take you aside and say, “Hey, you ‘ve got something in your teeth.”
I was reading Mark 10 today during my devotions and something in verse 21 jumped out at me. If you look it up, a rich young man came up to Jesus and asked him what he had to do to have eternal life. Jesus repeats the commandments to him, and the man says “I’ve done these things since I was a boy.” Then verse 21:
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said.
Jesus loved this man, and immediately, because of that love, he pointed out the thing that was holding the man back.
Jesus corrected the man because he loved him.
And what’s more, the man didn’t take the correction!
When you care about someone, you don’t want to cause them pain. You don’t want to hurt them. You don’t want to make them uncomfortable.
And because of that, it is very easy to just never correct them. It’s so easy to just let everything slide.
And sometimes we just keep saying, “I need to wait for a good time. Now’s not a good time.” And no time is ever a good time. And we just never do it.
And very often, we don’t want to break the friendship. We value our friendship with this person, and we know they may reject us because of it. And that makes it all the easier to just let things slide.
But if you love them, you will correct them.
If you love them as Jesus loved them, you will do as Jesus did and correct them.
And you know, the perfect time will never come. There are times where it’s very clear that you should not correct them right then—like if it’s in public, for example—but most times, “it’s not a good time” is just an excuse to not correct.
You won’t find a good time to correct someone. You have to trust the Holy Spirit and just do it.
And what’s more, if you are acting out of love, you are not responsible for how the person responds.
Jesus corrected the young man out of love. The young man did not accept the correction and chose not to follow Jesus. That is not Jesus’ fault. The young man’s response is not Jesus’ responsibility.
How someone responds to correction is not your responsibility. Correcting people when the Holy Spirit points out something that needs correction, that is your responsibility.
Now, I’ve covered in previous articles how to resolve conflict, and the same rules apply. Don’t make it an attack on them. Don’t accuse. Gently correct. In so much as you are able, don’t create a reason for them to reject the correction. Rather, approach them in love.
You have a responsibility to correct the people you love. Love them enough to do it. Love them like Jesus did and give them loving correction.