I am told in scripture to continually examine myself; and if I humbly do so, I will realize that I am absolutely nothing without Christ, I have A wicked heart, and there is NO good in me (aside from Christ Himself). Also as I am deeply warned in scripture not to judge others (as I truly have no superiority by which to judge anybody); I should wind up seeing myself as the chief of sinners. I know I certainly do. So .. at what point is it appropriate to correct one another (as fellow believers)? Where is that fine line? I am told to ‘sharpen’ my brothers; however if I really examine myself, am I EVER truly in a position to sharpen anyone?
I are told to be careful judging others because I will be judged by the same yardstick that I use to judge others. Good, so I need to take a look at the judging that would bless me if others did it for me. Would it be helpful if others pointed out that I was living life apart from God’s principles and that I woouldn’t like the results? Perhaps they could provoke me to righteousness by holding me accountable for memorizing and applying the word to my life. Rebuke a wise man and he will be wiser still. This week I asked my boss to bless me by taking of his valuable time and coming and helping me see where I need to improve my dictating and computer skills.
So, first, I need to be the type of person who sees warning and feedback even criticism as a blessing not a put down. I find that I also want the criticizer to make a suggestion as to how I might improve. Even secular research shows that ONLY PEOPLE WHO–EXAMINE THEMSELVES–KNOW THAT THEY CAN NOT SEE THE WHOLE PICTURE OF THEIR OWN DEPRAVITY–ASK FOR FEEDBACK–CONSIDER THAT FEEDBACK–APPLY THAT FEEDBACK–AND REWARD THAT FEEDBACK CAN POSSIBLY DO WELL!
If I am truly doing for the other what I know would be good for me and have in fact benefitted from. Then, when I confront the other, I will be in a position of one beggar telling another beggar where I found food. I may point the other to the same source of comfort and teaching that I have found. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberaly and upbraideth not and it shall be given him.”
The friend sharpening iron refers to, well, friends.
So, if others see my progress and humble openness and ask for feedback then I may share my own struggle and process and how God is working in me. If a friend wants to give and receive ideas in a humble sharing of each’s understanding of God’s word practically applied to life’s struggles-then go ahead and share. If I wait till I have mastered the Christian life before I share with others then there will be no sharing.
I need to remember that I must judge that ungodly ways don’t work and share my concern but never never judge the others worth security and hope.