East Martin CRC
What About When Others Do Wrong?
Copyright by Freedom in Christ, used with permission.
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. Galatians 6:1
In the last session we looked at Biblical discipline, and how it is not the same as judgement or punishment. It is vital to understand the difference if we want to relate well to others.
Judgement is always related to character, like calling someone a liar, or stupid, or proud, or lazy. No one can instantly change their character, and so speaking to someone like this can leave them feeling hopeless. It is much better to simply draw attention specifically to what they did (or failed to do), which is something they can work with. In any case, it is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to convict people of sin, not yours, and everyone involved can get hurt if you try to assume His role.
Punishment is related to behavior and looks to the past: “an eye for an eye”; making someone pay for what they did. But let’s remember that God never punishes Christians. The punishment we all deserve fell on Christ.
Discipline, on the other hand, is also related to behavior, but always looks forward to the future. God may discipline us in order to develop our character, so that we don’t keep making the same mistakes. This is proof of His love for us:
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
Isn’t it wonderful that we don’t have a God who punishes us? Instead, He loves us so much, that He sometimes makes the hard choice of allowing us to go through tough circumstances in order to prepare us for the future and to help us become more and more like Jesus in character. God truly does work all things together for the good of those who love Him. Thank you Lord!