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Posts Tagged ‘gentle rebuke’

Verse 1: “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

Back in my football officiating days, a veteran referee told the tale of how you can sometimes preventively officiate without having to use your whistle and flag. He was working a junior high game in a line judge role, and saw a linebacker increasingly getting into “extra-curricular” pushing and shoving after the whistle. He knew ahead of time that this kid was a stellar, outstanding student, and probably was getting caught up in the game. So, during the end of a pass play, he barked out his number to get his attention, and said, “Son, cut that out! You’re a better ball-player than that and you know it!” The young man mulled it over a second, apologized to the official, and straightened up the rest of the game. He played well, and didn’t get a flag thrown on him, because my friend called it to his attention before he would have had to reign him in with a penalty. He did with it a gentle reprimand as opposed to the harsh, public scolding a flag and penalty would’ve given. (It should be noted that this doesn’t always work on every kid, but the referee was trying to point out to try this where you could.)

Paul was giving similar advice. We all sin…and sometimes we have a fellow Christian “call us out” on it…but that should be done privately, in Christ-like love and compassion. Only if the brother has hardened his heart to the rebuke do we then escalate the reprimand (and the Bible speaks as to how to do this). Sometimes an instant public “look what he did!” can do more harm than good. Our goal as a fellow Christian is to restore our brother…keep him in the game, as it were, not see him get kicked out.

Something to think about.

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