To Correct or Not To Correct

"I would like to mention an aspect of the Christian life, which I believe has been quite forgotten: fraternal correction in view of eternal salvation. Today, in general, we are very sensitive to the idea of charity and caring about the physical and material well-being of others, but almost completely silent about our spiritual responsibility towards our brothers and sisters."
Sound familiar? You hear about a friend who is involved in an inappropriate relationship. Yet you decide not to confront him because you are worried that he/she will be upset.  Or how about at work; you hear a coworker slandering another coworker but you don't confront him.  You instead quietly rationalize that this is not your affair.  Maybe you hear a relative saying something inaccurate about the Catholic faith. Yet you don't correct her because that might be off putting and then your family sides against you.

Pope Benedict writes:

"We must not remain silent before evil. I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness. Christian admonishment, for its part, is never motivated by a spirit of accusation or recrimination. It is always moved by love and mercy, and springs from genuine concern for the good of the other."
I am heartened by the Pope's emphasis on fraternal correction as an integral part of charity.  Too often the prevailing definition of charity seems to be writing a check, or helping out at a soup kitchen.  Though these acts are a good part of Christian living, they are not the complete picture of charity.  True Christianity desires the total good of the person; body and soul.  We seem to have it only half way;  body - but no soul.  

Confrontation is difficult and almost always uncomfortable. Confrontation and I are not friends. I dislike it immensely and try to avoid it.  But think of it this way -  When a child does something wrong or dangerous or does something incorrectly - Does the parent or babysitter or relative say...."hmmm I'll just let little Johnny keep touching that plug in the outlet.  He really seems to love doing that and I don't want to ruin his fun"  Ridiculous right?   There's love in correction.  As long as it is done in loving manner and preserves the person's dignity, then it is the right thing to do.


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