I knew a man who used to say that he tried to never cause offence, or take it. It seems to me that (1-3a) are essentially about the former, and (3b,4) are broadly about the latter.
Recognise that, with your life, you have the potential to do great good or cause significant harm. Paul told Timothy to watch his LIFE and doctrine closely (emphasis mine). Choose to invest the currency of your life wisely
Many years ago I knew a Christian lady who admired another Christian man. He was a good friend and she looked up to him. But the day came when he tragically fell from his pedestal.She admitted that he almost took her down with him, in the sense that his conduct shook her faith.
There is an important role for rebuke in authentic Christian fellowship, and it will tell you a lot about a person. Watch how they respond. You will discover who is teachable and who isn’t. Where we see behaviour that isn’t right we shouldn’t just tolerate it when an honest rebuke, kindly delivered and well-received, could lead to character growth and necessary change.
‘Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him.’ The Message.
You don’t want to become the kind of person who is known for always ticking people off; the sort who somehow appears to relish it. It is much better, I feel, to come from a place where you are reticent to do it, yet willing to do so because it is right and you want to help. You don’t rebuke a brother in order to put him down, but to help lift him up – to bring about the change involved in repentance.
If the person who wrongs you repents, you have to forgive. But it takes faith to forbear with others; to be a habitually forgiving person. This may be one of faith’s greatest miracles – to keep on forgiving when you are repeatedly hurt by the same person. The disciples didn’t need more faith; it was just for them to use the faith they already possessed.