I came across a really great summary of the different kinds of “wrong” people that are discussed in the New Testament and how Christians treated them. I hope this can be a lesson to us as we go forward with a Christ-like example to everyone we meet.
Not all error was handled the same way in the scriptures. There is four types of error described in the New Testament. The goal is the same with each of these: to lead the one in error out and to a better understanding of the truth. So who are the four types of “wrong” people?
1. The alien-sinner was lovingly taught the Gospel (Acts 8).
2. The well-intentioned brother who was either mistaken or misinformed was lovingly “taken aside” (Acts 18:26) and explained a better way without any rebuke – just correction.
3. The hypocrite was strongly condemned by both Jesus (Matthew 23) and Paul (Galatians 2).
4. The false teacher was the most strongly condemned in the scriptures. These were men who knowingly defied the word of God to teach their own message that was contrary to the gospel (Gal. 1:6-9).
This should be our model in dealing with others. We should not confront the alien-sinner or the well-intentioned brother with the same severity as the hypocrite and the false teacher. Jesus said that we will be judged based on our treatment of others (Matthew 25). He also said that the world will know who truly belongs to Him by the way we treat one another (John 13:35).
Out of all the things we emphasize in the church, how we interact and treat others should be at the top of our list.