Stalling to do something good

I feel like I have been called lately to correct a person I know on their sin (faternal correction), but I have been stalling to do so.

In my head I was thinking, I’ll just wait till they do x again so I can say something. I’ve also just been scared and nervous about doing it because it would be really hard to say something, so i’ve just been putting it off, making myself think that Im just trying to muster up the courage.

I do feel like what they are doing is grave sin and so I don’t want to be responsible for it (CCC 1868) by being silent. Am I sinning in doing this? Or should I say something immediately?


While you’re stalling this, what other good spiritual and corporal works of mercy are you accomplishing?

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I feel you should definitely speak to a priest, he would be able to give you counsel. I would call first thing tomorrow


No one is “called” to correct someone. You do not need to say anything, especially if they are not your child, or your actual sibling.

We are all sinners. You, me, everyone reading. Unless you like people to approach you and correct you all the time, think of how the other person feels. Leave them be.


What makes you feel worse…saying something or not saying something? I had a friend once who seemed to gravitate toward married men. I said something. Of course, the person got defensive. The friendship has since cooled off. But that’s expected. Ezekiel 33:8-9 " When I say to the wicked, “You wicked, you must die,” and you do not speak up to warn the wicked about their ways, they shall die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their blood.
If, however, you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, but they do not, then they shall die in their sins, but you shall save your life."

This is just an opinion, for your situation, I think you shouldn’t. Even we should stand for the truth, it’s their own lives and they could feel bad when we correct them. It could also cause trouble and much misunderstanding. That’s not bad to be silent sometimes and to keep a distance from them. But always keep in mind that we still need to stand for the truth and fight for it because that’s what we’re up into as Christians.

I really love this statement:

We don’t have to nitpick but shouldn’t we try to warn someone that their soul is in danger? They may not realize it. Admonishing the sinner is a spiritual work of mercy. That doesn’t mean we always have to say something…it depends on the relationship, your culpability in the matter, etc. If a friend, for example, is starting to date a married person, should we just congratulate them and ignore the fact that it’s adultery? Doesn’t our silence give the impression of approval to their sin? And, yeah, we’re all sinners, but there’s a huge difference between trying and failing and not caring to try at all.


I don’t think everything is our business to admonish. I never said never say anything, but it is not always our right or business to say something.

You have to ask yourself why you are going to say something. Does the person we are saying something to really not know they are sinning and they need us to tell them? Will it change anything or are we just expressing our disapproval and judgment? And again, we all sin. Should everyone go around pointing out each other’s sins all day? We are all responsible for our own sins in the end.

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“ What makes you feel worse…saying something or not saying something? I had a friend once who seemed to gravitate toward married men. I said something. Of course, the person got defensive. The friendship has since cooled off.”

So what did you accomplish? Your friend knew they were wrong without you saying anything. And now you are no longer friends. Did saying something make things better or make you feel better? Your friend knew.

You didn’t warn them, they already knew.

How can we presume to know what others know? We’re no longer friends. Ok. I’ve learned to trust God to bring people into my life that He wants in my life and to remove people from my life that He doesn’t want in my life. Am I expected to help someone go to hell? Admonish the sinner is a spiritual work of mercy. And sometimes, when people are challenged, it gets them to think. I don’t think we’re supposed to go around condoning everyone in their sins never saying anything. And, personally, I"m more worried about losing my friendship with God than I am about any friendship here.

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Great, I’m glad you feel good about admonishing your friend.

I personally feel great about kicking to the curb the judgmental Protestant “friend” I had who decided to “admonish” me about something she thought was untoward in my private life 20 years ago. Her “admonishment” didn’t make me stop my behavior at all and simply made me think she was nosy and not someone I needed in my life. I did finally get my private life in order but no thanks to Miss Nosy Admonisher.

Different strokes for different folks.

“Admonishment” can sometimes have a very negative effect on the person being admonished. But if your main point is to do it so you can feel good about your own relationship with God, it doesn’t sound like you really had the other person’s well being at heart. You did it to benefit yourself.

You completely misinterpreted why I said what I said. It was for her eternal good. But thanks for assuming the worst about me :wink: To note…that’s not why the friendship ended. And…look it up…admonishing the sinner is a work of mercy. I’m not sure what behavior your “friend” was addressing but maybe your friend was trying to help you. I don’t know. So…if you were doing something sinful and maybe didn’t realize it, you don’t care…you want other people to condone you in your sin…even if it keeps you out of heaven? You’re right…different strokes for different folks. I’m also not sure how you’d want me to behave with a friend and her married boyfriend. Never address the issue? Pretend I don’t know he’s married? That’s cooperating in someone’s sin. We’re not supposed to do that. And regarding my friendship with God…yes, it means a lot to me. I want to avoid mortal sin (which breaks off that friendship). Is that for my benefit because someday I hope to end up in heaven? I suppose that’s one way to look at it. But charity and concern for others is all a part of that. Should I not care if I’m in mortal sin? I’m really not sure what your point here is.


Again I will ask you. Do you think your friend really doesn’t already know what she is doing is a sin? No one is telling you to pretend anything. You are not “cooperating” if you say nothing.

Has your friend asked you to cover for her and her married boyfriend? Has she asked you to help her arrange a rendezvous or keep his wife busy elsewhere so she can meet up with him? Has she asked you what you think of her relationship?

If the answer to these is “no”, then you are not “cooperating” in her sin by keeping quiet. In fact, sometimes the best thing you can do is stay quiet. Like when she starts talking about her boyfriend… I would stay silent and then change the subject. She knows she’s doing wrong. If she ever wanted to push the subject and ask you outright what you thought, of course you should say it’s wrong, but don’t paint her as the villain in the piece or a horrible sinner. Be gentle; tell her she’s better than that. Tell her she deserves better and so does her boyfriend’s wife. Tell her that if he really loved her, he wouldn’t make her be “the other woman”. But it’s not for you to bring up, unless she IS trying to get you to cooperate in her activities.

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It might depend if it’s going to push them away from God.Do they have much knowledge of right and wrong in this case?
I think sometimes when you’ve been called…you’ve been called and you just need to do it .Ive been deeply embarrassed sometimes to show someone a serious error ,but there is a persistent feeling of needing to do it
so I offer it up and go ahead.

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I bet if people had to do a week of penance and admonish themselves for 2 or 3 things before they admonished someone else, the frequency of admonishment would sharply decline.

Thank you for sharing your opinion. I can’t help but note the irony of how I should have kept quiet but here you are laying into me. Maybe you should take your own advice, eh?

To be fair, no one accused you of sinning.

I find the Catholic Encyclopedia helpful in this regard. It discusses when their is an obligation of fraternal correction:

That there is, upon occasion and with due regard to circumstances, an obligation to administer fraternal correction there can be no doubt. This is a conclusion not only deducible from the natural law binding us to love and to assist one another, but also explicitly contained in positive precept such as the inculcation of Christ: “If thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother” (Matthew 18:15). Given a sufficiently grave condition of spiritual distress calling for succour in this way, this commandment may exact fulfilment under pain of mortal sin. This is reckoned to be so only when

  • the delinquency to be corrected or prevented is a grievous one;
  • there is no good reason to believe that the sinner will adequately provide for himself;
  • there is a well-founded expectation that the admonition will be heeded;
  • there is no one else just as well fitted for this work of Christian charity and likely to undertake it;
  • there is no special trouble or disadvantage accruing to the reformer as a result of his zeal.

So we’re never to say that anything is wrong. Is that your perspective?

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