At about 7:30 in the evening I was writing at my local coffee shop when I overheard a customer ask, “Any double chocolate brownies left?” The cashier said, “No, they’re all gone.” I wanted to jump right up and shout, “No they’re not! I saw you put them in the back room almost an hour ago.” I knew it was wrong for him to put all the goodies away so early but really it wasn’t any of my business.
We sometimes think we are the hall monitors of the world and we stick our nose in where it doesn’t belong. Proverbs 9:7-8 tells us, “If you correct conceited people, you will only be insulted. If you reprimand evil people, you will only get hurt.” How often have we made that mistake? There’s a time a place for everything and only the Lord knows the time and place. That’s why it’s so important to walk by the spirit and not by the flesh when we deal with people, especially when it comes to correcting something we think is an error.
It’s not really our personal business to be worrying about what other people are doing or not doing, unless of course we’ve been given that authority in a work place or in a family situation dealing with children or another situation where we’ve been assigned specific authority over people.
With strangers and even with friends we need to wait until they ask or unless the Lord pushes us in that direction to help. We need to be busy doing what we’re supposed to be doing and let the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of God guide us concerning other people. The Lord wasn’t instructing me to say anything about the brownies. It was just me wanting to scold the guy because I thought he was wrong for not offering to go get the brownies for the lady.
If the Holy Spirit had told me to say something, I would have, but He didn’t, so I needed to just keep quiet (and quit grumbling under my breath about it too!) We do a lot of murmuring and grumbling about people instead of praying for them. We need to remember God loves them just as much as He does us.
Philippians 2:14-16 tells us, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That we may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom we shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life.”
When it comes to reproving or correcting, it’s essential to be led by the Spirit of Christ from within. The motivation has to be the love of God, not the self-righteous scolding of a know-it-all. If love isn’t our motivation we need to start making it our motivation, always and in everything.
If the Lord’s not telling us to correct a person then the best thing we can do is pray for them. Matthew 9:38 tells us to pray for laborers to help with the harvest and that’s talking about the harvest of souls for God’s glory. Everyone needs help when it comes to truly living the best life God’s called us to.
I didn’t know the whole story of the brownies going into the back room before their time and my butting in was not God’s will.
Even when we have so much to share, and good advice and great wisdom, the Bible also says, “Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you (tear you in pieces).” Is that what we want? Of course not! And the Lord doesn’t want that for us either. He’ll let us know when to give advice and when not to.
Instead of jumping into situations where the Spirit hasn’t led us, we can pray. That way we don’t get hurt and people who want to hear the truth and want to live a more holy life will have the opportunity.
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