Are you more concerned with holding people accountable for their “wrong” actions rather than encouraging them to do the “right” ones?
I’ve seen this often amongst Christians who want to argue and complain against others with whom they disagree for doing what they feel is “wrong”, instead of trying to pursue the opponents in a more loving way and then encourage them to do what is “right”.
I use quotes around what is considered wrong and right because some of the disagreements surround issues that are subjective and not clearly stated as right and wrong in the Bible. While there are things in the Bible that God and Jesus did clearly state as wrong and right. But does that mean we need to be the judges going around and telling others what they are doing is going against the Bible? Sounds more like the Pharisees.
While yes, as believers, we should live to be in obedience to God and hold fellow believers accountable, it’s still not our place to go around bashing others especially if we are not in relationship with them. And often strong believers go around bashing the people who are publicly doing wrong, they aren’t hypocrites who are acting righteous (Pharisees) but yet doing the wrong things in secret. Like Jesus says in Matthew 7:5 “Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”
Matthew 7:5 NLT
Because the Pharisees knew the law (the Bible) and went around telling others how to live but yet didn’t live it all out themselves.
I’m talking more to people that do hold themselves to the same standard but also come across harshly to those who aren’t living up to that standard. I think of Jesus and how He lived to a higher standard but still had compassion for us as sinners, knew we have a difficulty to meet that standard.
So I believe what not to do is to instantly use harshness against those who are being disobedient. Often times if we tear down someone in anger, it will more likely push that person further away and rebel against you or God. We have more influence with kindness than by tearing the other side down.
I don’t mean that we just love and accept everything even if it’s in disobedience against God. But we first work to have a close relationship with the person before confronting the sin. If then we lovingly confront and the person continues to disobey, we pray for them to have God change their hearts.
I learned in a temperament class of how to have compassion for others and their temperaments, even if I don’t completely understand why they act the way they do. The theme scripture for that class, “I Said This, You Heard That.” was Ephesians 4:29: “ Do not let unwholesome [foul, profane, worthless, vulgar] words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak].”
In other words, if you think arguing against someone, criticizing, cussing at, abusing or name calling them is going to motivate them to change, think again. People are persuaded more by kindness and love than by harshness. Look at the amount of people who have transformed their lives through Jesus because of how He loved them.
He didn’t change the laws. ““Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”
Matthew 5:17 NLT But rather Jesus changed the methods of how to convince people to obey the laws.
So in closing, I’d like to challenge you to look at how you are leading people to Christ. I know that disciplining people is the ultimate goal for Christians. But look at your methods and how many people have come to know Christ through you!