Thursday, May 26, 2016
“But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. . . When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others . . . (Galatians 2:11-14 NLT).
My, my, my, what did Paul say to Peter? If this had happened in May 2016, the conversation would have been something like this . . .
“Excuse me Peter, I hate to bring this up, and I certainly apologize if something I’m about to say offends you, but you may be . . . well, I think . . . of course I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but you may have hurt the Gentile brothers’ feelings. I am so sorry that I have to bring it up, but I thought I should say something. Maybe I shouldn’t have? I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings and if I did, I again apologize. I sure hope you brethren who came up from Jerusalem from James don’t get offended by this? I’m not saying you had a bad influence on Peter and I’m not saying Peter had a bad influence on the Gentiles brothers. Peter, I’m not saying you have caused Barnabas and others to err in any way whatsoever. I tell you what, why don’t we just forget the whole thing and you and everyone else pretend I haven’t said a word about this. I am so sorry to waste your time. I am an idiot. I should mind my own business and keep my nose out of everyone else’s! I hope you will forgive me. I am so, so sorry! Please, please, please forgive me?”
Was Paul wrong by correcting Peter in front of Barnabas, the Jerusalem and Gentile brethren? Wasn’t he void of compassion for Peter’s feelings? Wasn’t he in error because he did not go to Peter privately? Did Paul think he is was so high and mighty spiritually that he could go around correcting others? Didn’t he know what Jesus said about judging (Matthew 7:1-5)? Shouldn’t it be Peter who was doing the correcting rather than Paul?
Hold on! If we are thinking this way about Paul, aren’t we guilty of the very attitude we have saddled him with? If so, aren’t we guilty of passing judgment on ourselves more than upon Paul? Are we applying Jesus’ words in Matthew 7 to Paul but failing to see it also applies to us? Now THAT is frightening!
We make judgments every day. Some may be worthy as was Paul’s. However, some may be in error making repentance necessary on our part.
“Be fair in your judging. You must not give special treatment to poor people or to important people. You must be fair when you judge your neighbor.” (Leviticus 19:15 IEB).
“It is better to correct someone openly than to ‘love’ him and never show it.” (Proverbs 27:5 IEB). “In the end, one who corrects another will be more appreciated than one who gives false praise.” (Proverbs 28:23 IEB).