Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed… Galatians 2:11
Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Proverbs 9:8
In the first verse, two great men met and there was conflict. Conflict is troubling, yet inevitable, and we are wise to have a view of life that includes the possibility of it. Peter and Paul here both demonstrated greatness in the midst of disagreement. Paul did so by his clear stand for what is right, without self-interest. Peter showed true stature by being correctible. We must learn both if we are to become mature in fellowship. The verse from Proverbs speaks of correcting a wise man and deepening friendship. Peter received the correction, and later he called Paul’s writings “Scripture” and Paul, “our beloved brother” – 2 Peter 3:15-16. In the world, if someone is corrected they often feel humiliated and form grudges. In the Kingdom of God, correction is a blessing and keeps us in the way of life. When a rocket is launched to the moon, it has facilities for continual course correction. Without this continual adjustment, a small error would mean the rocket would completely miss its target. Paul submitted his preaching to Peter’s authority – Galatians 2:2 – and it was this humility that must have made Peter able in turn to receive correction from Paul. Peter was a broken man – he was soft clay in God’s hands. An unbroken person is brittle and awkward in fellowship with others. The way we are in fellowship with others is a sure sign of how we are in fellowship with Jesus. If we walk with Jesus we will receive constant course correction, sometimes by a rebuke, but most often by continual instruction. We don’t have to come to a place where we are always right, but we do need to come to a place where we always have the right attitude.
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