Gal. 5:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.
6 One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
I wrote to a friend of mine a few weeks ago. I tried very hard to both encourage and, in love, suggest some things that I saw in their life that didn't necessarily line up with Scripture. I prayed about what I included both before and after I wrote it, hoping that this would line up with God's Word and that it would be received as I had intended it. I was hoping for restoration.
We are supposed to encourage, even irritate, others to love and good deeds. This is not always easy, nor is it always received well. If there is going to be a high probability of rejection should we just not say anything? If we love the other person then we should say something. Often the response we receive is evidence of the heart. For example; if I said to someone that I was concerned for their salvation; that I didn't really see the fruit of Christianity in their life, I could get a couple of responses. The one I would hope for would be a gentle and gracious, "Thanks for your concern. God really does have a long way to go with me, but I do see some change in my life" sort of answer. If the answer comes back defensive, then you may already have your answer.
I am not suggesting for one second that I am like God, but it is interesting that God gave man a "Letter" filled with His own words. He wrote this encourage and admonish us, but more often than not we don't listen; we get defensive and are too proud to understand that it is talking to us and that we, but God's grace and power, need to change. Over the centuries Gad has been speaking to man and we have not listened. We often are hard-hearted to the Truth and just go on our own way, thinking we know better. If our Creator gives us an instruction manual on how to live our lives, we should be paying close attention to what it says, and close attention to our own hearts to see if we are of the faith and if we are obeying what He has said.
God wrote to us even though He knew that the majority would reject Him. He sent the prophets even though He knew that they would be mistreated and ignored. He sent His only Son even though He knew we would do the same to Him as we had done before. God takes the initiative even when He knows we are going to reject what He says.
We are always to do what is right, looking into our own lives first to see if there is sin, and then we are to go to others, regardless of what their response might be, because it is the right thing to do. How will they hear w/o a preacher and how will they be sharpened w/o another piece of iron rubbing against them? Though it may be hard, we must do it anyway.
Unfortunately, my friend did not "own" any of what I had suggested. Return comments pointed to others or were defended. There was not really any humility or receptivity. Would I write it again? Yes; it is right and it is what God calls us to do. I will keep praying that God will work and that lives will be changed, including my own, into the likeness of His Son.