Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from May 30th – June 5th are provided by Cami King. Cami, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, is about to complete her M.Div. at Gordon- Conwell Theological Seminary. She is currently serving as a staff member at Journey Community Church in Raleigh.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. 14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
When I first became a Christian, Paul was one of the few major Bible characters it took me a really long time to warm up to (I’m actually still working on it). This is one of the passages that contributed to that. It just seems harsh (and a little bit arrogant). However, with every passing year and greater maturity (hopefully), I’ve come to see the wisdom in Paul’s actions and the importance of what we stand to learn from them.
No one enjoys having to correct someone who is in the wrong (well, no normal person) because it’s uncomfortable. Pastor Steven J. Cole, listed several reasons why… I’ll give you his top three: (1) fear – we don’t want to upset or be rejected by the person; (2) a misunderstanding of Matthew 7:1 – we think Jesus is saying all judgments are judgmental; (3) an awareness of our own sinfulness – this is where the phrase “who am I to judge?” often come into play. Regardless of the slew of reasons we don’t offer correction when we see a brother or sister in error, the one reason we should is that we are commanded to do it. Not only this, but it’s the most loving thing we can do for them.
When Paul describes his correction of Peter in verse 11, the reason he gives for doing it is that Peter “stood condemned.” Not only was Peter wrong and leading those who followed him astray, but he himself stood condemned before the Lord for his sin. That’s a big deal! When we see our brothers and sisters in error, we should be mindful that their sin ruptures their relationship with God and, if we love them at all, we should feel compelled to come alongside them in mending it. And we should appreciate others who do the same for us as well. Are there people in your life God is calling you to correct? May you do so by speaking the truth in love. Is there correction God is calling you to receive? May you do so with humility and appreciation.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant me the courage and love to offer a word of correction to those around me who need to hear it. Help me to have a heart of humility that receives correction from others with an open and humble heart. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 61
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Timothy 2:22-26: So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
Questions to Consider:
- According to verse 22, what should we as believers be constantly pursuing? Think about your typical day – how much of your energy and attention is devoted to the pursuit of these things?
- Paul lists several characteristics that should be present in the person who is offering correction to others. What are they?
- What should be our motivation for correcting those in the wrong?
- We should be pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace.
- Paul encourages Timothy (and each of us by extension) to be kind, able to teach (both possessing knowledge and an ability to communicate it), patient, and gentle in our correction of others.
- That they may escape the snare of the devil. We want to protect them from the schemes of the enemy so they are free to live the abundant life God offers.
How do you typically respond to correction by others? Are you defensive and dismissive or are you thankful and thoughtful? How do you respond to situations where you have to offer correction to others? What, if anything, keeps you from challenging a brother or sister when you see them in the wrong? Spend some time reflecting on these things with the Lord.