Always Rebuke A Friend Out of Love
By Angie Lewis
is a friend? A friend is someone you can trust with your life
and they trust you with their life. They are there for you when
you need a shoulder to cry on and when you need moral support. A
good friend is difficult to find, so when you find a good friend
you want to be a good friend back to them, applying the golden
Live in harmony with one another, be sympathetic, love as brethren, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this, you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9
One of my Christian friends, of about four years, began to find fault with me about insignificant non-essential, religious details and it started putting a rift in our friendship. One day, after finding fault with me about foods you supposedly can’t eat, according to the Old Testament, I finally asked her, “Are you rebuking me out of love, because if you are, I will gladly take into consideration what you have to say”? She point blank told me that no, it was not out of love. That was a slap in the face.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
True friends will always rebuke out of love and will encourage you in your walk in the Lord, they will lift you up, and that is the reason for correction. A true friend will not boldly strut his or her opinion just to be doing it. Some friends may try and find fault with you just to prove their righteousness in the Lord - this is wrong. Some friends may be highly opinionated and judgmental and that is not a real friend in my opinion.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ forgave you.
Do you have a friend who has a difficult time accepting you for who you are? Are they a true friend or just someone to pass the time with? It does take discernment to find and keep true friends. Friendships of all kinds thrive on humbleness, kindness, gentleness, trust, forgiveness and love. Without those essential ingredients there can be no real friendship.
If a “holier-than-thou” attitude keeps us finding fault in others, then we are on a self-created pedestal. “Look at how much better I am than you” attitude. This is a sad way to live and to be. I have forgiven my friend for her trespass; I call it a trespass because if her rebuke is not done out of love, than it would be out of judgment – which means she has already deemed me guilty. I’m only disappointed that our friendship had to end over my eating of shellfish.
I do have faults and I would certainly want anyone who wants to rebuke me out of love in the Lord to please do so. Correcting a friend out of love reassures them that you love them unconditionally no matter what faults or ambiguous sins they have committed. No one should be denied their relationship in the Lord over trivial religious matters.
Bottom line is there is no right or wrong when it comes to these kinds of religious matters, only personal living choices. If your friend chooses to eat shellfish in the privacy of her own home, why should that bother you? But now, if your friend serves shellfish while having you over for dinner that would be offensive. Do you see the difference? She would not be a very good friend, in my opinion, and I would have to wonder why she would pull such a stunt as serving shellfish when having you over for a meal.
Whatever happens conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, I will know you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one for the faith of the gospel.
Differences in religious matters can be avoided when we understand that it all boils down to personal living choices. And if we are not rebuking, correcting, or expressing our opinions out of love in the Lord, what are we doing? If it is not out of love it is out of selfishness. Being offensive, opinionated and judgmental, just to be right, or to flaunt religious piety around is emotional and religious abuse.
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.