Not too long ago I was browsing through some social media websites of family members when I stumbled upon some pictures and videos of a family member that were inappropriate. In addition to the pictures, and videos there was profanity on the website. I have known this young lady all her life and have never seen this side of her. I decided that as a responsible adult who also worked for a ministry, I had to comment. I did not want to embarrass her and call her out in front of the world so I sent her an email and gave her what I would call a soft touch. A soft touch to me means that I softly encouraged her to think twice about what she was posting. I asked her to think about the message the videos and posts said about her.
I was hoping that my history with her and the fact that I was in the ministry might carry a little weight. Instead, this was the beginning of a small explosion. Her reaction was disappointing. It was very clear that she did not want to hear what I had to say. Whether she agreed or disagreed did not seem to matter. I knew that she knew she was wrong, but from her point of view I was “getting all up in her business.” I tried to reason with her, but it didn’t take long before I realized, at least for now, she was unreachable.
I dropped the subject for a couple of months but still viewed the website. I said nothing until I saw another post I thought I needed to mention. After several unsuccessful attempts to minister to her I threw up my hands in defeat and said, “Fine, she’s grown. I am done!” Before I could get the words out of my mouth, the Lord corrected me in a way that changed not only my way of thinking but my life. The Lord said, “You are more concerned about your relationship with Jane than you are about Jane’s relationship with Me.” I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. I backed off from ministering to her because it became too difficult. I backed off from ministering to her because I didn’t want our relationship to get worse. I backed off from ministering to her because I didn’t want to cause friction in the family. I backed off from ministering to her because I chose myself and my feelings over the Lord.
Correction is often painful, not only for the person on the receiving end but also for the person who has to give it. I have been on both ends, and both require a tremendous amount of bravery. You have to be brave to give correction and to receive it. The Lords correction caused me to examine the times in the past when I gave up on someone. It prompted me to rethink how I was willing to let this young woman remain in the dark because I was tired and frustrated. Though she cut off all contact, the Lords correction changed my life and is now a part of my personal ministry to care more about the Lord than myself.