Let us never forget St Paul’s admonition to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), not using rebuke for the opportunity to insult or slander one another, but rather building one another up in the love of Christ. Paul warns us that “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-2).
When we correct one another, but do so without love, mercy, compassion; it is not the edification of one another we seek, but our own vainglory. Arguing with one another, tearing down one another, shows that we fail to believe Christ’s teaching that “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Christ tells us that if we forgive another’s sins then so shall our sins be forgiven us, but if we forgive not their transgressions then neither will our Father forgive ours.
Let us instead speak only that which is useful for building one another up. If we focus on our own sinfulness, then we will see our own sins so clearly that we will not focus on another’s transgressions and will only embrace them in love. We are all sinful… rather than tearing down another because of their sinfulness, let us seek after our own holiness and, speaking the truth in love, seek to build all others up, edifying them and praying for them; displaying the love, mercy, and grace of Christ that each of us hope that we ourselves will be granted.
Christ is in our midst.