…if I encourage you (as a young adult) to work through emotions and look realistically (as much as possible) upon the person you are about to marry?
…if I note your sincerity and effort in serving Christ and compliment you at every chance I get?
…if I take note of your hesitancy and embarrassment in answering Bible question and I try to help you to learn more?
…if I see talent within you as a teacher of children or adults, and I encourage you to develop your skills and “launch out” in faith and begin teaching?
…if I see the interaction between you and your mate, noting anger and emotional distance, and I try to encourage either or both of you to practice love toward each other?
…if I hear someone else compliment you and pass that information on to you, in an effort to encourage and strengthen you?
…if I notice that you are not attending and participating in the worship of the church on a regular basis, and I mention it to you in a kind and caring manner?
…if I call you and invite you to go with me to a friend’s house with the intention of trying to study the Bible with them and encourage them to become a Christian?
…if I see you and your family attending and participating in worship that is not in harmony with the pattern revealed in the New Testament, and I object?
…if I see your good work habits in the workforce, compliment you and even recommend you for a better job?
…if I notice your short temper and sharp tongue in your interactions with me as well as with others, and I try to help you change?
Look closely at the above questions, and you will notice that there is a pattern to them. The list of questions contains both “positive” and “negative” statements. Each one involves a real possibility. Yet, the negative ones are far more likely to be taken as “judgmental” statements. Why? Have I told you a falsehood? Do I mean to harm you? By no means! Truth cuts both ways. We should make every effort to be honest and kind in all our evaluations of others. But remember that someone is not sinning by warning, correcting, or cautioning someone else. They are really showing love.
Lance Cordle Calvert City Church of Christ