I hate correcting people and calling out sin. That might surprise some people who know me. I feel like Rodgers (Captain America) getting punched and knocked down repeatedly, looking up at the one assaulting me, and saying, “I can do this all day.” The truth is I can’t. I’d rather quit and mind my own business. But I can’t do that and honor the Lord Jesus. As much as I hate correcting people and calling out sin, I hate leaving someone stuck in their sin without the good news of the gospel, God’s truth, and God’s commands. It’s good for their souls. And it’s good for my selfish soul too. The good news is God is glorious so I don’t have to fear others. God is gracious, so I don’t have to prove myself to others. Because I fear God in Christ Jesus, I’m free to love others without fearing their displeasure or needing their approval.
So God calls us to instruct our opponents with gentleness in 2 Timothy 2.24-26:
24 The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil’s trap, having been captured by him to do his will.
I’m commanded to patiently and gently instruct my opponents with gentleness. This is speaking of people in the church primarily, people who profess faith in Jesus the Messiah. Why? God may grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. They might wake up and come to their senses. They might escape the Devil’s trap. They’re trapped by the Devil! When we give into temptation to sin we give opportunity to the Devil. Paul teaches us, “Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the Devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4.26-27). So the goals are repentance, knowledge of the truth, coming to one’s senses (right mind), and escaping the devil’s trap. In a word, the goal is restoration. Correction is for restoration.
These goals are too important to dismiss for personal comfort.