Tag Archives: conviction

Caring Enough To Correct

In college I started a Friday night event on my wing called “Midnight Monopoly”. It was a leisure outlet for those of us who didn’t work or have other entertainment to make fete of an otherwise boring evening. It was always a fun time.

One night two roommates joined the game; as we played, one made an innocent joke about the other. It was not received well, however, and the other guy spitefully and openly countered with the sharpest, crudest remark he could muster. Everyone quickly overlooked the comment, but I sat there appalled. I was the wing chaplain and decided to let it pass and confront the guy once the game ended.

In my room with him, I addressed the comment—how ugly and unchristian it was and expressed to his own roommate and spiritual brother. How could he say such a thing? I explained that he needed to apologize and simply repent. I wasn’t trying to be a dad, but it sure felt like it. The comment had offended and angered me.

Well he didn’t like it. He left abruptly and said nothing to me for two weeks—that is until a knock at my door one evening. “Can I talk to you for a minute?” He explained that he had thought very much about what I had said to him and felt convicted. He acknowledged his wrong and thanked me for having the courage to challenge him. He also stated that he had apologized to his roommate.

The Profitability of Correction

Proverbs 27:5-6 says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Challenging others is never easy, even when done lovingly. Some people let offenses and bad behavior go unchallenged rather than making folk accountable for them. But this is wrong and unloving.

It is a false conception to think we can become successful or mature individuals, even good Christians, if we fail to submit to correction. Accountability safeguards character by cultivating wholesome traits and challenging negative ones. A mode of accountability, correction is essential to personal growth and also God’s plan for us. Being non-teachable and prideful, however, causes us to miss valuable lessons and costs us in the end.

Hosea graphically expresses the need for correction and repentance: “Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us” (6:1-2, NASB). Here is the idea of purposely wounding, perhaps to set a fracture or to clean away infection.

And sometimes we don’t see that our lives have defect or fester with some sin. So seeking accountability is a positive and proactive move to ensure integrity and godliness. Moreover, godly reproof is a grace and sign of God’s ownership. We should welcome it and not resist it, lest we accept the charge of Hebrews 12:8—“you are not legitimate children at all.”

The wing mate I confronted serves the Lord today around the globe sharing the love of Jesus with orphans and the distressed. I consider what I did a small but necessary part of preparing him for the ministry he performs today.

What might we be leaving untended in the lives of others God is burdening us to correct? And are you asking the Lord to reveal the places in your life in need of correction? Just own enough humility whether you’re correcting or being corrected. It helps to remember Jesus’s words that we bear abundant fruit when we are pruned (John 15:2).

This guest post is from Mike Stephens. Mike is the author of “A ‘Mike’ for Christ“, a devotional blog featuring thoughtful, topical discussion and spiritual reflection.

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AKAPA

I listened to a seven minute excerpt from “A Call to Anguish” by David Wilkerson this morning. It’s one of the heaviest, convicting sermons I’ve ever heard. I listen to it ever so often to challenge myself spiritually. Every time I hear that sermon, I know there is more I can do. I realize I don’t have enough passion yet to do everything God wants to do through me. This morning I saw a map to long term effective action while listening to that sermon. I’d like to share it with you and at the end, I’ll link to that sermon.

The first step any of us have toward action is Awareness. How can you act unless you are aware of a problem? The old saying “Ignorance is bliss” comes to mind. If we don’t know about things, we don’t have to worry about them or be burdened with them. Once you become aware of a problem, you have a choice to either ignore that information or to dig deeper. Sadly, when most of us hear a shocking statistic, we choose to ignore it and think we could never make a difference.

For those who choose not to ignore it, they want to know more about it which leads us to Knowledge. To successfully overcome any problem or need, you first must understand it completely. You need knowledge of what is going on, how did it get this bad and what is the cost of inaction. For many, knowledge prompts concern which prompts some action. It can be giving money, temporarily helping or praying for a solution. If you only gain knowledge, this is where your action stops.

If you let that knowledge sink down into your soul, it will engulf you. You will begin to move into the next step which is Anguish. This is where God places this burden deep in your soul. You begin to feel the pain that He feels for the situation. You cry over it, weep over it and intercede. During these times, God begins to weave this need into your soul and into the fibers of who you are. You can never look at anything the same way again. Everything frivolous thing you do will translate to what could have been done to solve that problem with that money, time or energy.

Once that Anguish is placed in you, it creates Passion. Passion isn’t something that is a fly by night feeling. It is powerful. It is contagious. It shows in everything you do. When you are passionate about something, you don’t have to tell others, they can see it in you. Passion is what will give you light in the dark nights. It will see the possible when you are surrounded by the impossible. It is what gets you to take that step of faith when you can’t see the path. It is that “it” factor that no one can describe.

Once you have Passion in you, it will translate to Action. Not just a temporary action born out of concern, but a long lasting action that keeps working when it feels like you aren’t making a difference. This action doesn’t require faith, it produces it. There is no force that can stop this because your heart is beating with God’s heart. Your actions are His actions. You have become His hands and feet and put His Word into practice on a daily, consistent basis. This is how movements get started and real change is created.

So, where are you in this journey? Are you at Awareness, Knowledge, Anguish, Passion or Action? I once had someone ask me, “What are you passionate about?” I didn’t have an answer as far as a cause went. You see, like many of us, I stop at Knowledge because I know the price of the next step. I haven’t been willing to pay it. That’s changing now. My prayer today is for God to break my heart and lead me into Anguish because I know that will produce Passion and then long term Action. Are you brave enough to pray that prayer?

Here is the link to that sermon I promised. Please, don’t click this lightly. This will challenge you and probably convict you. It does me every time.

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Condemnation or compassion

If you have ever been around children then you know they typically have a problem with being tattletales. They are so worried about everyone else who is doing wrong and they feel the need to bring it to everyone’s attention. The funny thing is that they never tell on themselves.

I’m not sure that we ever really grow out of that. We constantly look for the bad in others and want to point it out. If it is someone of importance, then we really want to make sure everyone sees their sin. What I’ve learned is that Jesus didn’t subscribe to this way of thinking. When a crowd brought a woman caught in adultery and wanted Him to condemn her, His response was the opposite.

The example He set teaches us a few things.

1. Don’t be quick to condemn

The crowd of people paraded this woman through the city square and announced to everyone what she had done and what the punishment for her sin was. I’m sure it started with the person who caught her and as he took her through the streets a crowd gathered with him. They may or may not have known the woman, but they knew the crime and wanted to participate in her punishment.

Jesus didn’t get worked up over it. They demanded that He answer them if they were right in what her punishment should be. He just looked at the ground and began to draw. His thought out response was a lot better than the mob reaction we typically exhibit. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, He simply compared the grace they wanted for their sins with the punishment they wanted to give to her for her sin.

2. Put down your rocks

When Jesus did respond to them, he said, “Let he who is without sin, throw the first stone at her.” His response should make each of us look at our own lives. We shouldn’t be so concerned that someone else isn’t getting it right. We should give the same amount of grace we expect from others.

Galatians 6:1 says that if someone sins, we should go and restore them. It’s hard for someone to accept your offer of restoration when you have a rock in your hand. We need to put down our rocks of criticism and go to them in gentleness as the scripture says. They know they’ve done wrong. God’s job is to convict. Ours is to help restore them and to provide a path to recovery.

3. Offer forgiveness

Jesus offered forgiveness time and time again to those who the Pharisees thought didn’t deserve it. He is our example of what we should be doing. Too many times I have been guilty of pronouncing judgement instead of offering forgiveness. I’ve realized that in my life Jesus has always pointed out my sin and offered forgiveness. Why should I act differently?

If we are serious about winning the lost, we need to be more effective in how we help people come to grips with their sin and need for a savior. I’ve found that building relationships with people and not being afraid to admit my sins or hide my scars from sins works well. Judgement turns people away while forgiveness draws them in.

If you find yourself in a mob and you have rocks of hateful words in your hands ready to be hurled, stop for a minute, draw in the sand and think through how Jesus would respond. How did he respond to you? How would you want to be treated if you were in their shoes? Allow God to do His work which is to convict and be prepared to do your part to show forgiveness and to bring restoration.

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