Reproving Our Neighbor

by Scott D. Hendricks

In any conflict with unbelievers or heretics, we should stop after we have twice reproved them (cf. Titus 3:10). But where we are dealing with those who are eager to learn the truth, we should never grow tired of doing the right thing (cf. Gal. 6:9). And we should use both situations to test our own steadfastness.

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The Law, in its imperfection, says: “Attend to yourself” (Deut. 4:9). The Lord, in His perfection, tells us to correct our brother, saying, “If your brother sins against you, etc.” (Matt. 18:15). If your reproof, or rather your reminder, can be pure and humble, then do as the Lord commanded, particularly in the case of those who will accept it. But if your progress has not reached this far, at least do what the Law says.

~ St. John Climacus

John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, trans. Colm Luibheid and Norman Russell (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1982), 246-247.