(Caveat – Often I am a chameleon. When I hear someone say we shouldn’t confront people I am usually the rabid sounding individual quoting Paul’s confrontations of sinners in his letters, calling them out in some harsh ways. But sometimes when I hear people calling others out and they seem to have no gentleness or no purpose of redemption. I veer off to the other side. So Today is the other side for me.)
We are fragile creatures.
Our sinful nature makes us extremely fallible. We can get things wrong in relationship to reality, and we often do. We can call something wrong that is not wrong, all because we lack the divine quality of being infallible.
Our sinful nature also makes us extremely wicked. We love the darkness. We love what is wrong. We love ourselves to the exclusion of others. We use others for the sake of our selves and all because we lack any sort of righteousness.
Even our best actions as humans are fully tainted with sin. Even our best prayers as Christians are still tainted with sin. Altruism is a pipe dream; pure motivation a farce.
This is what makes we cringe about the current state of calling people out. I understand the lost world, those who are without God in the world, calling out whomever they want, whenever they want, with or without evidence, with or without kindness. I get that.
What causes me to cringe is how often Christians call out others with an air of superiority that doesn’t seem to take Galatians 6:1 seriously. And specifically I have in mind Christians calling out Christians. (knowing full well we can only talk about professed Christians in both cases)
- Maybe my problem is that words written on a page or post sound more harsh in my head than they should. Maybe I am just too emotional when I read that stuff.
- Maybe I just can’t tell the difference between attacking the problem versus attacking the person.
- Maybe I am just extremely fallible myself.
Here is what I think is true and should be kept in mind:
- We can know the truth from God’s Word and not left with the platitude that is just your interpretation. We can have verifiable interpretations and so they are most weighty.
- Veering from that truth is dangerous spiritually for everyone involved.
- People need to be called out in their behavior and belief deviations. Scripture does not give us an out on that.
- But I also believe it should be done in a spirit of tenderness with a watchful eye towards your own behavior and belief.
If what we as Calvinists believe is true about depravity, then how is it that so many Calvinists are so bold to call out sin with no seeming fear that their very rebuking is tainted with ten times the amount of sin.
I don’t think this makes us weak to confront with fear and trembling, I think it makes us honest about ourselves and the possibility that we have got it wrong. A spirit of gentleness is not a spirit of ooshy gooshy let’s all love each other. It is simply the patient, kindness of a rescuing confrontation over a simple outing and shaming.
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. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Galatians 6:1-5