The thought of pointing out a sin or weakness to a friend can be frightening.
What if you lose the friendship or start an argument? Are you really so righteous that you can tell someone else they are doing wrong? Didn’t Jesus say that he who is sinless cast the first stone?
These are valid concerns. However, think about how parents correct and protect their children. If you are a parent and your child is acting incorrectly or about to do something that could hurt him, don’t you quickly correct your child and protect him from danger? It is really the same with friends.
The Word says a friend loves at all times, and if you see your (friend) overtaken in a fault, correct them in love.
Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself so that you also aren’t tempted. —Galatians 6:1
So it is not wrong to rebuke (correct) your friend. There are a few things you can do to ensure you have a good attitude and are acting in a spirit of love.
Pray and Seek God’s Wisdom
Ask yourself is this a fault substantiated in the Word of God, or something that you personally believe is wrong. There is a difference.
The Word lists several works of the flesh; it is clear that this behavior is unwise for a Christian.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. —Galatians 5:19-21
There are also many personal beliefs we have as Christians that are not necessarily sin, even if God has asked you to follow these beliefs. For example, some Christians believe that wearing makeup, going to movies, hanging out with unbelievers, going to a winery or listening to secular music are against the laws of God.
Some Christians believe that the gray areas can lead to sins of the flesh. However, in these gray areas it is really a matter of a person’s heart. Ask God to give you insight into your friend’s heart. Ask God to show you why you want to bring this to your friend’s attention.
Ask God to Give You the Right Words to Say
How do you correct a friend in a spirit of love? Ask God to give you words to say. Pray that your own judgments do not get in the way. This is difficult at times because involved in the thought and act of rebuking your friend, you may have personal feelings about the fault.
Perhaps your friend has outbursts of temper frequently, or has a self-serving nature, and this seems so bad to you. Spend time with God to see His view, understanding that we are all weak and in need of God’s grace.
Do Not Invite Your Friend to Lunch
Do not make an appointment with your friend to rebuke him or her. This can create a mood of sabotage, and may prevent your friend from hearing because your friend feels threatened and betrayed before you finish your sentence.
Wait on God
After you have prayed and sought God for understanding, ask God to create a circumstance where you can speak with your friend. Perhaps you are at lunch and a friend starts to gossip. This is a great opportunity to bring correction.
Caring enough to rebuke a friend can be daunting. Do not worry if your friend gets angry and does not speak to you for a while. Continue to pray for him or her, and trust God to water the correction you have brought into your friend’s heart.