May 16, 2012
Read: Galatians 2:11-21
When Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed. —Galatians 2:11
Is it possible that technological advances in communication have left us unable to confront people properly? After all, employers can now send layoff notices via e-mail. And people can criticize others on Facebook and Twitter instead of talking face to face. Perhaps it might be better to put all that aside and emulate how Paul communicated with Peter when they had a disagreement.
Paul had to confront Peter for compromising grace (Gal. 2:11-16). Peter had been fellowshiping with Gentiles, but when the Judaizers arrived (who believed that sinners are saved through Jesus plus keeping the law of Moses), Peter separated himself from the Gentiles. He ostracized them while professing to be one with them. Seeing this hypocrisy, Paul, in love and with passion, confronted Peter face to face for cowering to a legalistic system that was powerless to change lives. He vigorously reminded Peter that grace leads to freedom from sin’s slavery and to obedience to God.
Having courageous conversations with fellow Christians can be difficult, but they will promote purity and unity. We can carry out our responsibility to one another to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) by walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, give us courage to confront
Believers who have strayed;
And then with gentleness restore
By coming to their aid. —Sper
A well-chosen word can speak volumes.