This is a delicate subject. It is wise to spend time in prayer first, to check our motivation and ask for guidance. There are times when Christians are called upon to “talk to or try to correct a fellow Christian.” Our motive and intent should always be to bring about repentance and restoration to the erring brother or sister in Christ.

First, our attitude is very important. “Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive each other, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done” (Eph. 4:32). It is then that we are more able to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).

A helpful and challenging Scripture that is often overlooked is: “If your brother sins against you, go to him. Tell him what he did wrong. Keep it among yourselves. If he listens to you, you have won him back. But what if he won’t listen to you? Then take one or two others with you. Scripture says, ‘Every matter must be proved by 2 or 3 witnesses.’ But what if he also refuses to listen to the witnesses? Then tell it to the church. And what if he refuses to listen to the church? Then don’t treat him as your brother. Treat him as you would treat an ungodly person or a tax collector” (Matt. 18:15-17).

The apostle Paul told Timothy, “Preach the Word. . . . Correct people’s mistakes. Warn them. Cheer them up with words of hope. Be very patient as you do these things. Teach them carefully” (2 Tim. 4:2).

On a different slant, one of the most quoted Bible verses is “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” (Matt. 7:1, KJV) However, the point Jesus was making was that we sometimes criticize another for something we ourselves do . . . and perhaps even more. If we will consider what we want to talk about or correct in a fellow Christian but first ponder whether we may be guilty of doing the same thing, we may change our minds and choose to deal with our own sin first (see Matt. 7:1- 5). Once, when a preacher was talking with his son about his temper, the preacher suggested they pray about it. The preacher admitted that he was dealing with controlling his own temper. It gave them both a sense of support as they continued to work on this area of their lives. Praying for each other was another means of motivation and accountability, and they both made great progress. The bottom line is that prayer changes things—including people!

So, when should Christians talk to or try to correct a fellow Christian? When we have talked with the Lord first, received the “Go” sign from Him, and, are prepared to do it in His way.