I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.
νουθετέω noutheteō; from the same as 3559; to put in mind, i.e. (by implication) to caution or reprove gently: — admonish, warn.
Here’s a word we don’t hear used often anymore – admonish. I’m not even sure we know what it means in our world of hateful talk and shaming personal attacks. Paul makes it clear that he seeks to correct, rebuke and encourage – without shaming. This is a fine line to walk but truly the only way to build others up in Christ. There must be a way to talk about the hard things, negative things, without making it purely picky, petty and personal. Our motive must be pure. Our hearts must truly seek the well being of the one we are addressing, otherwise, the result will not be of God but of ourselves and will naturally produce anger and shame in those we are addressing. It seems to me that the longer we drone on and the more personal we become the more likely we are to produce anger and shame rather than promote true spiritual growth.
It is easy to shame people with personal attacks and unloving criticism. It’s also easy to simply make excuses for immorality in our friends’ lives. We aren’t called to ‘easy’, we are called to love. Love seeks the best interest of its recipient. Pride shames and tears down. Love admonishes and builds up.
May Father God fill us with His love that we may build up those around us and bring glory to Him!