This is a delicate subject. It is wise to spend time in prayer first, to check our motivation and ask for guidance. There are times when Christians are called upon to “talk to or try to correct a fellow Christian.” Our motive and intent should always be to bring about repentance and restoration to the erring brother or sister in Christ.
First, our attitude is very important. “Be kind and tender
to one another. Forgive each other, just as God forgave you
because of what Christ has done” (Eph. 4:32). It is then that
we are more able to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).
A helpful and challenging Scripture that is often overlooked
is: “If your brother sins against you, go to him. Tell
him what he did wrong. Keep it among yourselves. If he listens
to you, you have won him back. But what if he won’t listen
to you? Then take one or two others with you. Scripture
says, ‘Every matter must be proved by 2 or 3 witnesses.’ But
what if he also refuses to listen to the witnesses? Then tell it
to the church. And what if he refuses to listen to the church?
Then don’t treat him as your brother. Treat him as you would
treat an ungodly person or a tax collector” (Matt. 18:15-17).
The apostle Paul told Timothy, “Preach the Word. . . .
Correct people’s mistakes. Warn them. Cheer them up with
words of hope. Be very patient as you do these things. Teach
them carefully” (2 Tim. 4:2).
On a different slant, one of the most quoted Bible verses
is “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” (Matt. 7:1, KJV) However, the point Jesus was making was that we sometimes criticize
another for something we ourselves do . . . and perhaps
even more. If we will consider what we want to talk about or
correct in a fellow Christian but first ponder whether we may
be guilty of doing the same thing, we may change our minds
and choose to deal with our own sin first (see Matt. 7:1-
5). Once, when a preacher was talking with his son about
his temper, the preacher suggested they pray about it. The
preacher admitted that he was dealing with controlling his
own temper. It gave them both a sense of support as they
continued to work on this area of their lives. Praying for each
other was another means of motivation and accountability,
and they both made great progress. The bottom line is that
prayer changes things—including people!
So, when should Christians talk to or try to correct a
fellow Christian? When we have talked with the Lord first,
received the “Go” sign from Him, and, are prepared to do it
in His way.