“My child, do not despise discipline from the LORD, and do not loathe his rebuke. For the LORD disciplines those he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.” {Proverbs 3:11-12 NET}

I really like this verse, especially as a parent. I can remember when I had to discipline my own children. I would always explain to them why there was a punishment and then afterward I would hug them and tell them how much I loved them…

“For they [our natural fathers] disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness.” {Hebrews 12:10 HCSB}

My children would sometimes (often…always!) be angry after being disciplined. Sometimes I’d have to almost force them to give me a hug. When I finally did get a hug, I would explain to them why a punishment was necessary. It was important that they understood that the discipline was for their benefit, and that I loved them just as much, even though I had to discipline them.

Jesus said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline…” {Revelation 3:19 HCSB}

Today’s verse is speaking to us about discipline from the LORD…so how does HE administer that correction?

There are many ways, but I’m going to focus on just one…I would like to look at how we, as partners in fellowship, are supposed to correct each other.

I think it’s important, when correcting anyone, that you LET them know you still care about them, afterward. If there is true, “brotherly” love, or even intimate love, mistakes will not be the end of the relationship.

As you grow in your relationship with Christ, your relationships with fellow Christians will experience fewer times of correction. We are growing and learning through our fellowship AND by the correction of those who love us.

I told my fellowship friend, “I always want you to correct me when you see that I am headed the wrong way. The Bible is our road map, and as a Christian, it is your duty to point out the sins that I am committing. And I have that duty as well.

“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” {James 5:19-20 NKJV}

When Cain killed Abel, HE asked Cain a question…

“And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” {Genesis 4:9 KJV}

Somewhere along the way, Cain’s question “Am I my brother’s keeper?” became the mantra for the human race. How did that happen???

If we, as Christians, follow the example of Paul, James, John, Peter, and most of all JESUS…then we should know that it is our obligation to direct Christians back to the path of right…Paul told the people of Thessalonica that if Christians didn’t do as the Holy Spirit had instructed, they were to be corrected and afterwards shown love…

“Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”                      {2 Thessalonians 3:15 NKJV}

God wants us to correct each other, in order for us to stay away from sin and follow HIS path. If we are unwilling to submit to Christian correction, then God will have to step in…with HIS discipline.

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” {Matthew 18:15-17 NKJV}

My friends…we ARE our “brothers” keepers. As we fellowship, we keep each other on the path that God has chosen for each of us.

Don’t be offended when someone in your circle of Christian friends corrects your behavior, in order for you (and I) to stay in a close relationship with Christ. They are just trying to “save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

 

Gaining strength though our fellowship.

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” {1 John 1:3 KJV}

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