Doing the Really Hard Things

There are some difficult things that God commands us to do. It’s hard, for example, to go to a brother or sister who has sinned, look them in the eye, and tell them that they have to repent, like Peter did with Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:22). It would be much easier to simply look the other way, but God says we must go to them (Luke 17:3).

It’s hard to approach a weak Christian, point out their serious neglect of duty, and urge them to turn back to God. You might know of someone like Demas who could be turned away from the world (2 Timothy 4:10). It would be easier to just let it slide, but God says we must speak to them (Galatians 6:1).

It’s hard to finally withdraw yourself from a disciple who has sinned and refuses to repent. And we all recognize that it’s especially hard when it’s family. It would be easier to ignore the situation and act as though nothing had happened, but God says such action must be taken (1 Timothy 6:3-5).

To all of you who obediently do these difficult things, we express our thanks and admiration. You help Christ’s cause in an immense way. You are truly “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-16). You hav shown yourself to be “blameless and harmless” and “without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (Philippians 2:14).

Now, may we say a word to those of you who might be on the receiving end of such actions? We hope that you understand that your brothers and sisters definitely take no delight in doing such things. It gives them no perverse sense of pleasure. There’s no morbid gratification that comes from this. Surely you can see that this is truly difficult.

Your fellow Christians can think of a thousand things they would rather be doing. There’s absolutely no enjoyment in this. But they do it anyway, because they know two things. First, God commands them to do so. Second, it’s in your best interest. Please try to understand this, and if it becomes necessary for someone to come to you — in a conscientious effort to serve God and you — please respect them for it. Respect them, appreciate them, and love them for their deep concern for your spiritual well-being. They’re doing one of the really hard things that God calls on His people to do.

Greg Gwin