Gently instruct those who oppose the truth.
Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts,
and they will learn the truth.
Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap.
For they have been held captive by him
to do whatever he wants.
– 2 Timothy 2:25-26 (NLT)
One of the greatest benefits we can bestow on the people we love most,
and indeed on everybody,
is the sometimes heroic help of giving caring fraternal correction.
Correcting is not and must not be judging or condemning,
because when it is done in a Christ-like manner
it becomes a work of charity, an act of love.
In everyday life we realise that our relatives, friends or acquaintances – just like ourselves –
can form bad habits which are not worthy of a good Christian,
and which separate them from God.
They may be habitual faults such as:
failing to put effort in their work,
leaving work poorly finished,
lack of punctuality,
ways of speaking that verge on the spreading of scandal or defamation,
They could be faults against justice
in relationships at work,
giving bad example by living in an unrestrained manner
– ostentatious spending, for example,
and drunkenness, lust, greed…
The fault could be the maintaining of certain relationships
that can be or become a risk to matrimonial fidelity or to chastity.
It is easy to understand that when fraternal correction,
filled with charity and understanding,
is given to the person concerned in private and at the right moment,
it can avert many evils
– a scandal perhaps,
or harm caused to the family,
with the likelihood of it being difficult to put right afterwards…
or it might serve as a stimulus to somebody to correct his or her defect
and come closer to God.
This spiritual help flows from charity,
and is one of the principal manifestations of the great virtue.
We should often ask ourselves how much we really love
and how much we truly help those who are closest to us.
Parents, for example, are duty bound to correct their children
– a clear and natural example of parental love and care.
But there are instances, unfortunately many,
when parents do not correct their sons or daughters (young or old),
or claim to find it hard to do so,
with the excuse that “doing so could cause angry reactions,
which would cause great upset
and result in the peace of the family being ruined.”
Should parents protect family tranquillity at any cost,
and can such fear of losing the peace ever justify lack of correction?
Do such parents really love their children,
or do they love themselves more?
Often it is the latter.
Sadly, it is often selfishness and short-sightedness
that causes some parents to cling obsessively to the apparent peace
rather than to dutifully and lovingly correct their children.
Making Christian loving correction is always hard – everyone knows this.
Moreover, receiving such correction hurts,
because it is hard to humble oneself, at least to begin with.
But, after prayer and good example,
such caring and sincere correction is the best way we can help others
and demonstrate our love for them.
Do I pray for those I love?
Do I insist on giving them good example?
Do I practise Christian loving correction when necessary?
Is my love for others a love backed by deeds?
Do I look at Jesus and ask Him to guide me
and to help me demonstrate my love for others as He did?
REPETITIVE PRAYER FOR TODAY…
Show me Your ways, Lord.
Guide me in Your truth.
Teach me, and make me more like You.
… … … … … … … … … … … …… …
Note: The main source of today’s REFLECTION is the seven-volume work
“In Conversation with God” by Padre Francisco Fernández Carvajal.