If you saw your child running with a knife, would you let them just keep running with it, or would you tell your child to stop? I think most parents with sense would immediately try to stop the child before they cut themselves. It is in our natures to look out for the ones we love. No matter if they are spouses, siblings, children, or friends, it is ingrained in us to warn them when they are doing something dangerous and they are about to get hurt. What about when you see your loved ones in a state of sin? Why would you NOT tell them? Sin is a spiritual knife. It is a real spiritual danger to the ones we love. Sin causes damage to our very souls, and can place us in very real danger of Hell, which I think most agree is much worse than just a physical wound from a knife!
To tell someone that what they are doing is wrong is a hard thing to do. People rarely thank you when you point out they are in a state of sin. Many times they think that you are just trying to make it seem like you are better than them, or “holier than thou.” It is certainly not a wonderful thing to look forward to, and no one wants to be labeled that horrible “judgmental” person. Even with that though, how can you say you love anyone if you're letting them charge through life with an unsheathed knife, without ever trying to tell them that what they are doing is dangerous, especially when you know that they could end up hurting themselves or even someone else?
Fraternal correction, telling someone when they are in a state of sin, is NOT a bad thing. In fact, it is an act of love when it's done gently and with compassion for the spiritual health of the other person. It is showing that you care enough about that person, that you don't want them to do anything that places them in serious danger. It's showing that even though you know that they may take it the wrong way, and that they will most likely be mad at you for pointing it out, that you love them enough to weather that storm, and try to get the knife out of their hands. The greatest purpose that any of us has is to help each other get to Heaven. We cannot fulfill that purpose if we are in a constant state of fear to even talk to each other, and let each other know that we are sinning and doing something wrong.
Nothing says it best like Scripture though:
In James 5:19-20 we see that we are called to try to bring our brothers and sisters back from error. Bring them back from Sin. It makes it clear here that we are to do this and that it will help save our own souls as well. God rejoices with the return of the lost sheep!
“My brethren, if any of you err from the truth and one convert him: he must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.”
We see a similar message here in Ezekiel 3:18-21:
"If, when I say to the impious man, ‘You shall certainly die,’ you do not announce it to him, and you do not speak so that he may turn aside from his impious way and live, then the same impious man will die in his iniquity. But I will attribute his blood to your hand. But if you announce it to the impious man, and he is not converted from his impiety and from his impious way, then indeed he will die in his iniquity. But you will have delivered your own soul. Moreover, if the just man turns aside from his justice and commits iniquity, I will place a stumbling block before him. He shall die, because you have not announced to him. He shall die in his sin, and his justices that he did shall not be remembered. Yet truly, I will attribute his blood to your hand. But if you announce to the just man, so that the just man may not sin, and he does not sin, then he shall certainly live, because you have announced to him. And you will have delivered your own soul.”
Matthew 7:1-5 are the favorite passages used to try to tell people you can’t say anything about their sin.
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, —Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”
You’ll notice that last line though (Mat 7:5). It’s telling you to be sure you’re working on yourself too, before you bother trying to correct or help others, so that you can see clearly. If we just try to make ourselves self-righteous without doing the work of trying to actually do better and be holy, then our words will be used against us as our own judgment, since we tried to apply that judgment to others without taking it into our own hearts and working to change. If we are approaching our brothers and sisters in love, and we too are trying to live Holy lives, then we are doing as we are supposed to, and fulfill the requirements passages like the ones in James and Ezekiel.
Lastly we have other passages in Matthew 18:15-17 that not only tell us to make sure that we speak to those that sin against us personally, but that we have a proper and right way to go about this correction, and that other people must come in and also talk to a person about their sins against another. In the end, if the Church says it’s a sin, and the person is still not willing to listen and repent, then that person is treated as a non-Christian, because he/she refuses to listen to the Truth passed on by God.
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
God doesn’t want us rubbing each other’s noses in our failures, or holding ourselves over one another because we don’t have that particular sin, or this particular sin. We do not look down from a mountain of Holiness and point fingers at others. We are right next to them climbing that same mountain, and we need just as much help getting to that Blessed peak as the brother and sisters that are climbing it with us! God wants us to constantly help each other remember the Word of God, and the things He said to watch out for. Sin leads to eternal death, and it is part of our jobs to do our best to help each other persevere until the end, and enjoy the eternal life of joy that God wants us to have.