When correcting your fellow Christian, ensure that your heart is in the right place:
Brothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct that one in a gentle spirit, looking to yourself, so that you also may not be tempted. –Galatians 6:1, NAB
One of our primary goals in life should be finding the path that leads to Heaven, and once we find it, helping our brothers and sisters in Christ to find it, as well. Helping them find that path requires patience – the same patience that Christ has shown to us.
Unfortunately, self-righteousness can creep its way in. Our original intentions may be pure, but over time, we begin to judge those whose faith is at a different place than ours. We cannot forget that we were probably in a similar place in our lives, at one point or another.
In today’s verse, we are told that we should correct our fellow man; however, if we are not careful, our holier-than-thou attitude will lead us into our own sinful ways. Whatever their sins may be, remain compassionate to their situation. Help them find the path back to Christ without leading yourself astray in the process.
Apologetics is a favorite subject among many Catholics, including myself, but when evangelizing, we must do so out of love – leaving our self-righteousness behind. Converting the heart of a fellow Christian to Catholicism requires showing the beauty of the Catholic faith. An intense debate over theological differences rarely reflects that.
Another dangerous situation for faithful Catholics is dealing with Catholics who have fallen away from the Church. We look down on them for not attending Mass each week, not praying the Rosary regularly enough, or not following a number of other rules and practices. Judging them will only drive them farther away. Bringing them back requires reminding them about the beauty of our faith and the love of Jesus Christ.
Our duty as Christians is to help each other find the path to Heaven – even correcting each other, when necessary. Spiritual correction, however, must set its roots in love and not in self-righteousness. Together, we can find the path that will lead us home as brothers and sisters in Christ.