Let It Ride

One of the things that Christian people sometimes feel called to do is rebuke or chastise or confront one another. We see the faults of others oh so clearly, and so we think we might have the gift of rebuking (if there is such a gift). Or, more likely, we are burdened by the blind spots of those dear to us, whether family or friends, and so we feel it is clearly our duty to point them out. But I have news for you: it may not be your call at all.

Now I am certainly not saying that there is never a time for a rebuke. But most of the time we ought to steer clear of such ideas. What ever makes us think that we are the one to point out the faults of others? We may think that the Bible has given us the authority to do this. But not necessarily.

One of the popular verses to support the idea of confronting people over their sins is Galatians 6:1: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.”

Now there are a couple of important things to note about that verse. First of all it is concerned with people who are overtaken in a trespass. This is describing people who are in the grip of sin, not people you just don’t get along with or who bug you. Second, only spiritual people are qualified to do this job of restoration. That means the motivation should be concern about the spiritual well-being of the one overtaken. Oftentimes we feel like correcting someone because we are annoyed or offended by them. We may think we are being spiritual when in fact we are being directed entirely by the flesh. If we are really spiritual, we won’t feel at all like correcting them. When we are unspiritual, we can’t wait to let them have it.

The next point in this verse is important. It says that the spiritual person should restore the one who is overtaken in sin. This means helping them put things right. Often the one who wants to correct, who thinks he has the gift of rebuking people, just does a hit and run. But the job of restoration takes some time and commitment. It requires love and patience and humility and a spirit of gentleness.

And last of all, the one correcting needs to be very alert to his own temptations in the midst of process. This means that you approach the whole thing with much prayer and carefulness. It is not to be a slap-dash job.

Most of the time we are really not called or qualified to be rebuking anyone. We need to let love cover sins, and we need to give the Holy Spirit room to be doing the job of convicting of sin, righteousness, and judgment. We have many of our own shortcomings and faults and sins to be occupied with.

So what I am saying here, basically, is let it ride. Be careful. Don’t be hasty to point out the sins of others in a spirit of correcting. Pray over it. Tell God you are willing. And wait for a big open door. There is an obvious danger associated with this, or the apostle would not given the qualification of “being spiritual” and he would not have warned us to watch out.

Look at the next sentences (vs. 2-4): “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest0

21 thoughts on “Let It Ride

  1. Amen and Amen.

    I think this is a huge temptation for women. We should instead be thinking “but for the grace of God….” Besides, don’t we have enough of our own sin to be dealing with? I know I do.

    I want to say, however, that if you have been corrected/rebuked (unjustly or not) show grace by taking it with loveliness and ask the Lord if there is any truth in what the person has just said. It’s hard, sometimes, especially when you look at the other person and think, “um… you’re going for my speck and I’m looking at a HUGE log in your eye.” That’s exactly when you have to breathe and let love cover a multitude of sins. Be humble, search your heart, don’t be haughty in your own eyes and love that sister or brother that is speaking to you, because Jesus does.

  2. I have been burdened regarding this very issue with the women that surround me. However, it’s not grown women, it’s the young women (little girls to be precise) in my own home. My daughters, 5 of them, are constantly picking at each other. They are so eager to point out the other persons faults. Do you have any suggestions for encouraging them in this area. More than anything I think the “picking” has become a habit and needs to be “nipped in the bud”. Thanks for the exhortation.

  3. This is so true for us to be reminded of this fact. I think that probably one of the BIGGEST problem that us wives has is rebuking our husbands. We are such a close helpmeet to them that we see so many faults that “bug” us, and we speak out before thinking. This has been a weakness for me and the Wilson’s books have helped me tremendously with this sin – free commercial, no charge;)
    Thanks for reminding us to be faithful to what God has called us to do.

  4. “We may think we are being spiritual when in fact we are being directed entirely by the flesh. If we are really spiritual, we won’t feel at all like correcting them.”
    Thank you for a post that is providentially perfectly pertinent for me today!

  5. I’ve been confused by this because I am not confrontational — I usually go out of my way to avoid it and have been sometimes made to feel I am “copping out” because I have not confronted people. But you bring good principles out of these verses I have never heard mentioned before. Thank you!

  6. Jenny,
    I would say that faithful teaching, correction, and discipline will pay off (all with a liberal dose of patience). I’d be surprised if there was not some competition going on. Daughters need security and love, so pour on the love, attention, affection, and more love to each one. Competition among girls is as common and old as dirt and is a very predictable sin, not a weird or unique sin. So treat it like that and have none of it.

  7. I absolutely, totally agree with you.

    We tell our children, “If it’s an issue of sin, then go to your brother in humility. But if it’s just a matter of preference, bite your tongue and ask God for the grace to let it ride.”

    I’m also a huge believer in the fact that I was not called to raise other people’s children. We make choices for our own, based on our own convictions, but if our neighbor makes a different choice, then that’s their business before God.

  8. Thanks for the encouragement. Competition didn’t even cross my mind. We can hardly wait to be part of Christ Church’s fellowship!

  9. I agree 100% with your post and agree with the comments as well.

    However, I wonder how far we take this. My husband ad I have never attended a church that engaged in church discipline (we are both preacher’s kids).

    In our previous church of 12 years, our small group Sunday School class had 5 couples divorce over extra-marital affairs with other members of the church! I wonder if someone had lovingly pulled them aside when problems first cropped up, if those marriages might could have been saved.

    So who’s job is it and how do you go about it? My husband pulled aside our Christian neighbor and in love said, “Hey, I notice you are driving with and keeping late work hours with your female co-worker and I’m telling you it doesn’t look good.” The neighbor was shocked that my husband even said anything, because honestly, no one says anything anymore.

  10. Jenny,

    I have found this same habitual picking tendency in my eldest son–especially towards his brother (next-in-line sibling). I recently started wondering whether he hasn’t seen this ‘picking’ in me as I shepherd him. In my zeal to help him walk in the Lord’s ways, I think perhaps I have forgotten that it is not I who sanctify him! Obviously, this is a fine line to walk since as parents we ARE called to correct our children, but I suppose I’m simply stating that my eyes have been opened to watching HOW I correct, and in which contexts, being more careful not to use parenting as a pretext for picking specks from his eyes that should perhaps be matters of prayer and example more than direct instruction.

  11. Daisy has touched a hot spot…I have wondered this many times, especially with the issue of modesty. I know there is a HUGE gamut of convictions among God-fearing believers, and I do not even rank among the more conservative of those, but when a good friend wears a sun dress that shows cleavage while she is standing up talking (to the Sunday morning service) and other revealing tops regularly, should I speak to her? I have TOTALLY avoided this, claiming that it was the leadership’s role, not mine…don’t want to but should I? I know my husband for one avoids talking to her and her family because of the distraction of her clothing.
    I am so afraid of being one of those “nit-pickers.”

  12. Daisy and Kathleen,
    I agree with you both that making application on this principle requires wisdom in each and every situation. There is just not a one-size-fits-all for who and how each situation should be addressed. But here are a couple of thoughts/questions for you to consider.
    Does the church you mention not practice discipline out of principle? If not, then that is a church that is asking for infection. Discipline protects the body and is not primarily the means of restoring the sinner (though that is always to be hoped for). So a church that refuses to discipline its own members is not one I would attach myself to.
    But it is also possible that in each of the cases of divorce that you mention, there has been real repentance. Sometimes the church leadership has addressed issues and the guilty parties have sought forgiveness. In such cases, church discipline is not required, and it is possible that the congregation at large does not know what has happened behind the scenes. Maybe the pastor or elders have been working diligently on these things, but no one else is aware of it.
    That said, I suggest that your husband ask the pastor about the woman who is making the announcements at church while dressed inappropriately.
    And, of course, if you have a relationship with a neighbor or friend, then you may have the open door to ask questions yourself. That is a case where I suggest prayer first, asking God for an opportunity.

  13. Re: the immodest woman…Aak!…not a fun situation and yet not a terribly uncommon one! I have a very good friend who was a brand new believer when she started attending our church. She is also very beautiful…so therefore, would be noticed no matter what she wore. She did not dress modestly and over time (not terribly long, maybe within six months) she began to dress in an appropriate way. Turns out, our very wise and gracious pastor had been talking to her…and God used what he had to say to change her thoughts on dress! This was such a great example to me that 1.) my pastor is aware and doing just what he is supposed to be doing without us necessarily knowing…and 2.) done in the right way, by the right person, God does use the words of fellow believers to make one aware of their sin.

  14. Thank you for this post! I work with mostly females and I see this happen all the time. I am going to print this post out so that I can refer to it. This is something that I have been trying to work on. If some one is not in sin why should what they do bother me? I just need to let it ride!
    Thank you,

  15. I totally agree with you here! Sometimes we are so keen to point out and judge people because the flaws that we see but we dont know the pain they experience or the heart struggles they are dealing with. So i have decided to let it ride, sometimes I have to keep repeating it to myself inorder to remid myself to exercise grace over and over though it hurts but Jesus loves them too.

  16. Going back to a comment on the little girls and competition…
    If a grown woman is being competitive, what do you do? If find yourself avoiding her or downplaying the amount or quality of things you do so as not to trigger a response, do you say something or try to cover it? It is like an elephant in the room.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *