Let’s say you know someone that is constantly engulfed by sin and you make an effort to gently and humbly mention to this person that, if they would just change their ways and turn to God, they would get better. However, no matter how much you try to convince this person that you want what is best for them, they still continue to do what they know is wrong and, after a while, they begin listening to the lies provided to them by those who they classify as “friends” but who are really their enemies.
These “friends”, who are not really friends at all, congregate together submerged in the same sin knowing that, because everyone is struggling with the same sin, nobody will tell them that what they are doing is wrong. Because there is no correction, there is no growth. With no growth, a Christian’s walk with Christ begins to wither.
I think one of the hardest things to hear is criticism. Nobody likes to hear someone tell them that what they are doing or the way they act is wrong. One of the harsh realities of being a Christian is that we must work at being mature enough to help keep others accountable as well as allowing fellow Christians to hold us accountable. In order for us to make sure that times of accountability don’t turn into crazy confrontations, we must do our best to remain humble helpers and gentle guiders.
The Bible tells us that it is important to confront each other in a humble and gentle manner when we are trying to keep someone accountable to Christ (Galatians 6:1) The Bible also tells us that those who accept legitimate criticism are wise (Proverbs 13:18, 15:31-32, 25:12, 29:1, Ecclesiastes 7:5). Knowing this, valid criticism based upon God’s Holy Word and not our own judgments are an important aspect of fellowship with fellow believers.
When a brother or sister in Christ comes to you in a gentle and humble way and talks with you about how you need to change a certain aspect of your daily life, how do you respond? As a Christian, are you connected with fellow believers so that you can be a part of healthy accountability? While it may be hard to hear criticism, it is important that we remain mature and remember that “wounds from a friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6).