As I met my husband’s gaze I could tell he was about to say something I didn’t really want to hear.
“You didn’t have to be so harsh,” he said.
Earlier that day my mother was down about something, I honestly can’t even remember, but I had swept in with a calm, succinct, good, but void of compassion response.
It wasn’t the first time an encounter like this had happened, nor was it the first time my husband had overheard, but it was the first time he had said anything.
“But, you don’t understand,” I began to say, “what I told her was exactly what she needed to hear.” I was trying to deflect his correction by asserting the overall good.
“I’m not saying what you had to say wasn’t good advice,” He continued, “But you could have been more compassionate in how you said it.”
Compassion, it’s a quality that anyone who knows me well knows I struggle with.
He was right. I didn’t want him to be, but he was.
Now, I had a choice. I could either accept my husband’s gentle correction or I could resent it. This time around, wisdom helped me embrace his correction.
See Something. Say Something.
When my husband saw that this was a struggle for me, that it was an area of consistent error, he did the most loving thing he could have. He kindly called out my wrongdoing.
Calling out someone’s sin doesn’t feel very warm and fuzzy, but it is essential to loving well. The Bible tells us, “Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).
Our culture has taught us that to love someone you need to accept them, all of them. Tolerance is key. The Bible teaches us the contrary. Love does not tolerate blatant sin. If someone, particularly a fellow believer, has a consistent sin issue: gossip, pride, anger, sexual immorality of any kind, slander, etc. it is our duty to say something.
Often, we don’t want to say something because we are afraid of losing the person – but that is selfish, not loving. We might also be worried that we could come off as self-righteous, which is a heart issue. Only you can know your motives. “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17). When we turn a blind eye to the blatant sin of fellow believers, we sin.
Speak the Truth in Love
We must be wise when we speak correction. We all have bad days, sad days, and sick days where we are a little less joyful, a little more selfish, a little pricklier. We need to exercise wisdom to know when circumstances call for grace, and when to speak correction because of a shameless sin. Whenever we address a sin issue we must show discretion and gentleness. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
You never know how someone will receive correction. It can be a scary thing, but it can also be the most loving thing you can do for someone.
I’m thankful I am married to a man that corrects me gently and wisely. I still struggle with compassion, but I’m much quicker to observe my lack and ask for forgiveness. When I am forgiven I’m reminded how blessed I am to be LOVED by someone that extends grace when circumstances call for it and correction when my sin nature requires it.