‘Warn…those who are out of line…encourage the timid…help…the weak.’ Sadly, we’d rather stay quiet and be popular than speak difficult truth into the lives of others. One teacher writes: ‘A church isn’t a group of individuals who happen to meet in the same place every week; it’s a spiritual body…a loving family. It’s far easier to comfort and encourage than to warn or exhort, but both are necessary.
Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth in love so that the whole body may “grow up in all things”. If we don’t take the time to exhort, encourage, warn, comfort, uphold and be patient…we [all] suffer in the end. Your body doesn’t function properly when one part is hurting or performing poorly. And the church suffers when one of its members is unruly, fainthearted, weak, or falls into bad doctrine. Letting a body part fester, or not supporting a part that’s hurt, can lead to irrecoverable damage…letting serious issues go unaddressed does a grave disservice to the member in question.’ As parents we love our children too much to let bad behaviour go unchecked. Down the road we know it will negatively affect their attitude toward authority, relationships, accountability and personal discipline. We care enough to correct and guide them. Paul says, ‘If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out’ (Galatians 6:1 TM). The truth is the only safe ground to stand upon, and your goal should be to speak it in love.