‘Warn… those who are out of line… encourage the timid and fainthearted, help and give your support to the weak.’ Sadly, we’d rather stay quiet and be popular than speak difficult truth into the lives of others. Henry Blackaby writes: ‘A church isn’t a group of individuals who happen to meet in the same place every week; it’s a spiritual body… a loving family. It’s far easier to comfort and encourage than to warn or exhort, but both are necessary. Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth in love so that the whole body may “grow up in all things”. If we don’t take the time to exhort, encourage, warn, comfort, uphold and be patient… we [all] suffer in the end. Your body doesn’t function properly when one part is hurting or performing poorly. And the church suffers when one of its members is unruly, fainthearted, weak, or falls into bad doctrine. Letting a body part fester, or not supporting a part that’s hurt, can lead to irrecoverable damage… letting serious issues go unaddressed does a grave disservice to the member in question.’
As parents we love our children too much to let bad behaviour go unchecked. Down the road we know it will negatively affect their attitude toward authority, relationships, accountability and personal discipline. We care enough to correct and guide them. Paul says, ‘If someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don’t be tempted yourself.’ (Galatians 6:1 CEV) The truth is the only safe ground to stand upon, and your goal should be to speak it in love.