Grace and Correction
Grace and Correction
In preparation for this series I was at a coffee shop and got to talking to a lady there and asked her what she struggles most with family. She said, “How do you know when you should say something to someone when they are doing something that is wrong or that you don’t like.” She then shared a particular situation in her family and shared what she did and how it didn’t go over very well. We had a great talk and I thought that is a topic in the series!
One of the great challenges we have in relationships is knowing what to say when someone does something wrong or causing you concern. Do you say something? Do you remain quiet? How do you help them? Do you sweep it under the carpet? How do you go about it.
Well, we can’t cover every aspect of this, but I want to share from a passage today that helps us see there is a place to correct others and we need to do it with a graceful attitude. We are looking at a familiar passage of Jesus and going to apply it for our family situations.
"Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. 6 "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:1-6 ESV)
Prop: Healthy relationships involve a degree of correction and judging that is done with an attitude of humility and love.
Not an attitude of I'm going for your jugular, or I want to correct you to assert my superiority, but with true love for them.
The Need for Correcting
Some people wrongly use this verse to say things like you should never judge others (do not judge) but only love. Don’t correct people. Don’t tell them how to live. Who am I to judge? Give personal space. Simply let them be. Whatever makes them happy. That used to be the popular saying. It seems today people have no problem telling others they are wrong.
In life you have to correct people. It is a part of life. Parents correct children. An older sibling corrects the younger. Teachers correct students. Managers correct employees. Coworkers look out for each other. It is a part of life: correcting on practical things: hold the football like this, do your spreadsheet like that. Correct efficiently: fold the laundry like this, paint like this. Correct morally: why didn’t you tell the whole truth about… In life you have to correct people. You have to correct your kids. They don’t always do what is right and they don’t know what that is. You may have to correct or share a concern with your spouse, your sister, your parents!
This passage is not prohibiting all judging. Scripture tells us to correct people when they sin. You are to make a judgement about what they are doing and what is right or wrong.
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. (Mat 18:15 ESV)
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Col 3:16 ESV)
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Tim 3:16 ESV)
Matt 19:28 is about Jesus and the final judgement. Judging is a way we reflect God. It is a way we prepare to stand before his judgment. I would rather have someone point a sin out to me now and I change than wait to stand before God. Healthy relationships.
The issue here is not in judging, but in having a censorious spirit - that is being severely critical of others. We see that in the next verses. V 2 introduces the reason. It is not the judging but the attitude with which we do it. The way we do it can come back on us, too. “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” We treat others worse than we want to be treated.
“Judge not". These words of Christ do not contain an absolute prohibition from judging, but are intended to cure a disease, which appears to be natural to us all. We see how we all flatter ourselves, and every man passes a severe censure on others. This vice is attended by some strange enjoyment: for there is hardly any person who is not tickled with the desire of inquiring into other people's faults. All acknowledge, indeed, that it is an intolerable evil, that those who overlook their own vices are so inveterate against their brethren.”
We are to correct, but we have to guard the attitude with which we do it. We also need to realize that it may be likely that others will point out something in our lives. Will we be offended by it or will we graciously receive and take it to heart. Proud people go on the defensive or even on the attack.
A Gracious Attitude.
This passage puts us in check on how we are to correct people. Our brother may have something in his eye, but do we have a plank in our eye? We should have a cautious humility in what we do. Don’t go on a crusade to attack another.
We see a small speck in another and we miss the plank in our own eye. Speck could be any small dry particle like chaff. Plank is a weight bearing wood in construction. Think of a big beam at the bottom of a house.
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Gal 6:1 ESV)
Pray for your family. Matt 7:7. Pray for people consistently and you will have a heart change. Forgiveness is not optional. Don’t know what is going on in someone’s mind, heart.
Judging as fellow sinner. Judge with humility. Same measure you want to be judged. place to judge sin.
Many times we think we know everything, we know the situation, we know the person’s motives and what they are up to, and we think the worst about them. We are self righteous in our attitude. We condemn them and excuse our sin.
We judge wrongly in so many ways.
We judge the sins of others more significant than our own. Your lie was bigger than my lie. Yes, I was selfish and uncaring but you were more. A sin is a sin. Dejected because of what others did to you and don’t see your contribution to the problem.
We judge one type of sin and overlook another. One sibling gets mad and pushes the other. Another gets mad and gives the silent treatment. Both are forms of anger. Teens see and experience things their parents do and so they rebell. Lack of love and rebellion are both sins. Don’t let your hurt from the sins of other people’s sins cause you to sin toward them.
We demand immediacy growth from others when our growth took time. How could you do that?
Sometimes we judge our family for their sins and fail to see we are just like them. This may be one of the hardest things about family. Sometimes the things you most dislike about your family are also the things that you see in yourself. Apples don’t fall far from the tree.
The attitude we correct with is so important. In correcting people your intent is not to harm them, injure them, or make yourself look good or right. Your goal is to help them follow the Lord. Correct with humility. We all have something in the eye. We also remember we are going to our brother or sister. We are like them. Parent to a child. Not the sage to an apprentice. Know-it-all to a moron. Master to a novice. Omnipotent judge to a pathetic criminal. If you are harsh with others they are probably going to avoid you or cut you off in various ways.
I want to give you a few things to help you in relational conflict. Ken Sande book.
Ask questions rather than throw darts. Don’t come in with guns blazing. You did this and it’s because .... Ask questions. Hey I noticed… and was wondering why you did that. What were you hoping to achieve? How do you think the other person felt when you did that? Are there any verses in the Bible that were guiding how you were thinking?
Own your part. In family, any relationship, there are relational issues that come up that involve us. If we believe we are all sinful then we do not do anything perfectly. In any relational issues there are things we need to own up to. In his book "Resolving Every Day Conflict" Ken Sande states that even if our contribution to a problem was 2% then we need to own up to that 100%.
Confess and ask for Forgiveness. Bad confessions are “I'm sorry if I hurt you.” “I'm sorry that you thought I was angry.” If denotes contingency. If your apology is contingent on someone else doing something then you are not owning up to anything! Saying you’re not convinced you really did anything wrong.
Be specific. Don’t just say “sorry bout that.” Sorry about what? Don’t just say “I blew it as a husband.” Hyperbole is done out of frustration and conviction. “I was wrong to not tell you the whole story.” Own up to those you wronged. If you spoke disrespectfully to your wife, then tell her. If your kids heard you, then you own up to it with them. Help them see it’s not OK to do that.
Grant forgiveness. Asking will you forgive me, is humbling. It puts you at the mercy of the other person. They have a decision to make. They can release their hurt and offense or hold on to it. Say I forgive you. Don't say its OK. It's not ok and you have not let go, you have not forgiven.
Pray. Ask God to show you your wrong. Psalm 139:23. Matt 7.
In this passage hypocrisy is mentioned. That’s being a phony. Sometimes hypocrites know they are putting on a show, it’s a lie. Sometimes the hypocrite is oblivious to their hypocrisy and that is the case here. The person is blind to his actual state. It is sobering that we can be unaware of how we actually are.
Verse 6 is a call to not throw your pearls to swine. It’s a confusing jump. Pigs don’t care if its gravel or gold. You can give them a diamond ring and they will ignore it. This command is about pearls of godly wisdom and similar to Proverbs.
“Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. (Pro 9:8 ESV)
Sometimes our pearls of advice and wisdom are not heeded. It’s ignored. People may even resent us for it. A wise person receives from others and looks for ways to grow. A fool pushes it all away. Maybe even goes on the offensive. Some people are so hurt and offended by the slightest criticism. We all have many faults.
“Throw a pearl to a swine, and he will resent it, as if you threw a stone at him;” henry
This may be with siblings or friends we try and help them in their walk with the Lord. It may be with people we share our faith with or invite to church. They may not listen. Yet we must be very cautious whom we condemn as dogs and swine, and not do it till after trial, and upon full evidence. Hospital patients are lost when there is a misdiagnosis. We don’t want to do the same with others. And we don’t want to judge them where perhaps it was a bad effort on our part or wrong assessment.
We need to approach the second half of this with the first half in mind. We ought to be slow to call people swine. We ought to be slow to say that people are beyond healing. One of the things we need to evaluate is, are we the swine. Am I quick to listen to others and receive feedback, correction or advice. Even better, am I asking others for feedback, correction or advice.
How well are we listening and looking to others. Am I listening to God’s voice or ignoring him. He speaks through his word so are you opening your Bible? Are you doing what he says to do? If not, then you are ignoring God.
I think if we rightly apply verse 1-5 to verse 6 then it means we ought to be concerned that we might be rejecting God’s truth through our opposition or indifference than that other people are doing it. It’s easy for us to say you need to heed God’s word, when we continue to live unchanged by it. We are like the person James mentions who looks in a mirror and goes away unchanged. We make excuses for it. I don’t need to reach out to others or tell anyone about Jesus, it’s not my strong point. We dismiss evangelism.
We say others need to follow God but we refuse to follow his command to share our faith.
I don’t need to read the Bible because God knows my heart.
I don’t need to be committed to a church. I don’t need to serve.
I only told a little lie or just looked at a little bit of pornography. It’s bad that you did that but what is worse is you are defending your rebellion.
Judgmentalism is a disease - are we living our lives as though God’s word is the cure for our disease? Jesus wants to change us from the inside out. We ought to reflect on what people share with us. Maybe even seek out advice. Do you see any part of my life that I need to grow in or change? How can I be a better husband, a better friend to you, how can I live out my faith better. *The best thing we can do for our family is to pursue the Lord.* Model how to give and respond to correction.
One of our greatest dangers is the superficial Christian culture around us that says you need Jesus, and keep him just far enough away that he doesn’t really mess with your life. But it seems to be the disciples the church is producing today.
If you are stuck in your walk with the Lord, or stuck in life I would ask you to consider how well you are seeking after God, how well are you seeking advice from other people. Maybe you are stuck because you see the sins of other people as so much greater than your contribution. You are not seeing clearly.
There is no silver bullet technique of sharing advice with others that guarantees it is received and goes well. It may be like throwing pearls to swine. You may see your valuable, prayed over words get trampled on and you bitten. Be faithful to God and trust him with the results. But in your sharing be eager to love the person and eager to learn, even ask them what you could have done better, and let God change you through those things.