Everyone influences people. No one lives or dies unto himself (Romans 14:7). Your influence can affect people greater than yourself or of greater stature than you think may be influenced by yourself. Barnabas, an apostle, was influenced by Peter. Your influence is felt by your actions along with your words, therefore we must walk according to the gospel. Each decision or action must be committed through the same action of salvation: by grace, through faith in Christ (through the Holy Spirit). Our walk includes our thoughts, words, actions, inactions, responsibilities, and emotions.
To win true friends we must be faithful reprove or rebuke when necessary. Peter was doing injury to the church, but he was a good man. No one loved the Lord more than he did; no one was more zealous than he. But he still made mistakes. Paul did not hate Peter. There can be no pride in reproof. If so, you’ll act like: “It’s all over for him.” “He’s a loser, a stupid idiot.” “He’s a wicked person.” We must remember the Bible: Philippians 2:3; Galatians 6:1.
Paul spoke openly and with candor. He talked to Peter publicly (before them all – either the whole church or all that had followed along with him) – if it had been a private matter he would have taken it to him privately. 1 Timothy 5:20. He did not slander him behind his back; he was not out whispering suspicions or undermining his authority.
It is our duty to reprove those who need it. It is not something we can leave off because we’re “not that way.” Yes, it is painful, but it is really the only truly loving thing to do. We experience similar emotions when we discipline our children (James 5:20). These truths apply to private rebuke also.
It is also the duty of the recipient to accept reproof with a kind spirit and thankfulness (2 Peter 3:15). Peter may have been referring to Galatians itself when he recommended Paul’s writings and called him his brother. We need practice at accepting reproof and a good man will get plenty – Proverbs 24:16.