|Vol. 1, No. 6||Page 15||June 1999|
Do You Love Me?
By Bonnie Rushmore
I am reminded of examples in the Bible where someone was concerned enough about someone’s soul to tell them they had sinned. Do you remember Jonah? God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach repentance to this wicked city. However, Jonah did not want to preach to the Ninevites and chose to flee to Tarshish on a ship. Quite content with himself he settled into the sides of the ship and fell asleep. God caused a great storm. The sailors confronted Jonah that he was the cause of the storm (Jonah 1:10). Jonah immediately acknowledged he was fleeing from God. He spent three days praying for forgiveness; then he obeyed God’s initial command to preach repentance to the Ninevites. The purpose of reminding you of this biblical account in the Old Testament is to emphasize that someone was willing to tell Jonah about his sin.
I am also reminded of Nathan and King David. King David committed the sin of adultery with Bathsheba. To hide his sin he committed the sin of murder by having Bathsheba’s husband killed in battle. God sent Nathan to King David to confront him of his sin. I imagine it would be difficult to stand before your king and tell him he was sinning. When confronted with the reminder of his sin King David immediately acknowledged he had sinned and repented. Nathan showed concern for King David’s soul.
Paul “withstood Peter to his face” when Peter separated from the Gentiles when Jews entered the room. Paul accused Peter of the sin of prejudice (Galatians 2:11-13). Not only did Peter sin but he caused others to sin also. This shows the importance of exposing error and restoring the lost Christian before the influence of the erring one corrupts others. These are just three biblical examples of someone telling another of sin in his life.
Luke 15:7, 10 teaches that the angels in heaven rejoice for one sinner that repents over 99 just persons that need no repentance. Angels are concerned for lost souls. Jude 23 states “others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even, the garment spotted by the flesh.” this verse shows the urgency of telling others they are sinning and that repentance is needed to save their souls.
Christ said if you love me you will keep my commandments (John 14:15, 21). If we love God, we are commanded to keep all his commands. Included in this is to restore those who have fallen away into sin.
Paul commanded the Galatians to restore a brother who has been overtaken in a fault [sin] (Galatians 6:1-2). Verse two continues with the thought encouraging the Galatians to “bear one another’s burdens” to help and encourage them overcome their sins.
Sometimes we allow our fear of rejection or the fear of physical or mental harm to keep us from telling someone they are sinning. Paul said in Galatians 4:16 “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Paul’s love for God and his desire to obey all God’s commands gave him the courage to tell Christians they were living in sin. Many of the epistles Paul wrote were written to Christians condemning them for sin and encouraging them to repent.
The strangers told Jonah; Nathan told King David; Peter told Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:18-23); Paul told Peter, the Corinthians and other Christians to repent of sin. These men showed compassion for the lost. They showed their love for mankind by encouraging them to repent of sin.
Do you love me? Will you tell me when I sin?