You Make Me Better
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.” Galatians 6:1-6
I don’t like correction, but then again, who does? I am not talking about correcting my speech or an answer to a question when I make a mistake, but when someone calls me out on my actions. Yet, the Bible has charged us to do just that with our fellow Christians. Last night, someone gave me a great compliment. They told me I make them better. I was flattered of course, but as I gave it further thought, I had to reflect on what about “me” makes them better. The person then went on to say, “if I am consistent enough and show you I am serious, I know you will not be as reserved with me and our friendship can grow”; in other words they would build trust with me. That simple expression made me reflect on what it means to be a friend AND what it means to be a Christian. Admitting, I am a hard friend to have; I am overly sensitive at times, indifferent/hard at other times, but also very demanding, meaning if I give you 110%, then I expect 110% back. Yet for whatever reason, to this one person, I made them better in spite of all my flaws. That is exactly what being a friend and the fellowship of Christ are about, dependability and accountability.
Last week’s devotional “Imposters of the Spirit” spoke about the Fruits of the Spirit and how as we mature in Christ, the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) should be apparent in ourselves and in other Christians. The challenge was for each of us to truly examine ourselves and our inner circle of family/friends in light of the Fruits of the Spirit. As we learn to exhibit the Fruits of the Spirit, there will naturally be a war between our spiritual and human selves. It’s only understandable, yet when used correctly, correction from a friend or other Christians can in fact make us better. If we profess to love our friends and family as much as we do, why then do we continue to consign on a walk that is not edifying and pleasing to the Spirit? Or, we estrange ourselves from those that are bold enough to confront us about our wrongs.
In an effort to be better followers of Christ, we should hold ourselves accountable and restore gently in correction those closest to us. This does not give us permission to go tell each and every one we may disagree with that they are going “to hell” because of the sin in their life; one because you are standing in judgment of others which God clearly speaks against and secondly, they may come running to tell you the same thing. Instead, with a sense of discernment and based on your relationship with them, show them how the Word of God wants different for them and their life. Show them how to become better.
As I stated, I don’t like to be corrected, but more than that I don’t want to fail the very people I profess to care about. So, I try (and sometimes fail miserably), to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) to those that enter my life because I love them that much. I love them enough to want to make them better just as they have made me better. I love them enough to show them the Fruits of the Spirit and my walk with Christ, i.e. love, joy, peace, kindness, etc. Without accountability we will have stunted growth because for many, we are not able to distinguish our voice from the enemies’ voice, and from the Lord. What we see as right may very well be wrong. Therefore, do not be afraid to receive correction nor to give correction. Instead, approach correction prayerfully and with love, honor, and respect for the other person’s journey. You may not just help make them better, but may become better in the process.