This really wasn't meant to be a four-parter when I started, haha :). I think this may be the last post coming from this sentence, haha... but, ya never know. It's not uncommon for me to come up with a couple blog post ideas while writing the main paragraph of a blog post (obviously, right :)?).
We've talked about looking for needs with the desire to fill them for Christ's glory, about how those of us blessed to be doubly "family" with our family, are also doubly accountable to being there for them, and about not being afraid to step up. Now, I would like to point out one more detail I thought of while thinking about this word "need". And this is often where fear really becomes an issue. Sometimes, the needs of our fellow believers will be a rebuke.
There are times when we will see someone going through a really hard time. They are discontent, or maybe have "abandoned the love [they] had at first" (Revelation 2:4), or simply have a sin that they need encouraged to abandon. And we know that a certain truth of the gospel is the key to them being brought back to Christ. And so we have to point out the sin in their hearts. "Better is open rebuke than hidden love," says Proverbs 27:5.
I had a friend who confided in me earlier this year about some things she had been hiding from her parents because she didn't think they would approve. I was so scared, because I knew that I was able to reminder her of truths that I knew could help her if she would let me share them. I didn't really want to share with her, because I was worried that she would be upset with me. But I knew I didn't have a choice. If I had let this friend continue with silence that could be taken as approval, then I would have been encouraging her in her sin. I did share with her, with my parent's guidance (always, always include your parents in big issues like this!!!), and I am very, very happy to say that she took it without getting upset, and even thanked me. But even if she hadn't, I know that the choice I made, with that encouragement from my parents, to put my fear aside and let her know where she was erring from scripture, was the only right choice I had.
There is something you have to careful about while giving a rebuke. 2 Timothy 4:2 says, "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." We must have complete patience and complete teaching.
We cannot be hasty, harsh, and impatient in our rebuking, or it will cause them to harden their heart, and our "help" will do more harm than good. And we cannot simply say "That's wrong", and move on without explaining who's authority we are guided by. One of our favorite movies, "Time Changer", includes this phrase; "Satan is not opposed to good morals; he is opposed to the Lord Jesus Christ". Throughout this movie, you are shown how once you take Jesus' name off of your exhortations, it is not long before those exhortations hold no value in the eyes of others.
Do we love our fellowmen enough to show them the sin we see in their life, from the standpoint of Christ's word, with no thought of personal gain, but only to show them the love of Christ, without fear?