Self-examination is useless without humility. In fact, any soul-searching is likely to be shallow and short lived if pride remains resident in our hearts. Therefore, if we are not willing to apply discipline to our shortcomings, then God, being our loving Father, will apply it Himself.
It is easy to appreciate brethren who gently coax us in the direction of a better character. But hard seem the blows of brethren who rebuke our foolishness. And lest our injured pride cause us to confuse friend and foe, Proverbs 27:6 says:
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
As God’s fellow workers we cannot allow each other to stray from the Narrow Path. If getting a brother back-on-track means confronting sin, then confront it we must. However, each encounter must be appropriate to the situation. Though Paul rebuked Peter openly (Galatians 2:11-14), Nathan convicted King David of his sin by telling him a made-up story (2 Samuel 12). Both worked.
It is a tragic truth that some will-not-be-told! King David grew appalled at Joab’s bloodlust and made his disgust known. But David had been weak in his discipline of Joab (the Commander of his army), and had left things too long. He instead asked Solomon to bring Joab to justice after his death. It needn’t have come to that.
Thus, it is best that we heed the cautionary words of our brethren, lest we suffer the discipline of the Lord.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).
True friends are those who both rebuke and encourage one another in the Lord.