Can I rebuke you ?

First of all, I thank God for all of you who are reading this right now because it means that the Lord allowed you to see another day and your eyes are still functioning so you better thank God real quick and you are welcome. I pray that as you read this post, there will be conviction wherever it is needed and that as the Lord speaks to you, you will be sensitive and obedient and that you will check everything I have written against the word of God and correct me if I have made any mistakes. Enjoy 🙂

This is how google describes rebuke “express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behaviour or actions” so it basically means to correct someone when they are doing something they shouldn’t be doing , simple as. I have noticed that a lot of people do not appreciate being corrected and when they do receive that correction, they become defensive and accuse the corrector of judging them and this accusation is then topped off with things like “only God can judge me”. As followers of Christ , correction and encouragement to our brothers and sisters means that we speak the word of God to them in love, with the hope that they will grow and mature in Christ. On the other hand , there is also encouragement from a worldly manner which is the speaking of nice and lovely things to people ; in order to make them feel better , to affirm who they are , to not offend which allows them to continue living their lives the way they want to. Can you have a guess as to which way isn’t the best and can also become destructive ? the way of the world is most definitely not the way to go as we must constantly be encouraging one another to be more like Christ everyday.

If you especially find it hard to rebuke your friend/family when you recognise sin in their life , you really need to be asking yourself why that is the case. Are you worried about losing that friend ? Are you worried about what that friend is now going to think of you ? Are you worried that you are going to come across as judgmental ? Are you worried about the sins that you yourself might be taking part in ? or do you convince yourself that you love that person and so you do not want to hurt their feelings ? These questions goes to show how selfish we are actually being by not correcting our brothers and sisters in love because we might be too busy worrying about how it might make us look and about the end impact it will have on us most of the time, this simply isn’t good enough.

Galatians 6:1-5 will be used as a guide to help us answer the question “Why and how we should we rebuke each other ? ” 1) When someone is caught in sin and because we are spiritual people : we should aim to live by the spirit and not by our sinful nature and we should also want this for our brothers and sisters in christ since we know that a spirit led life is the truth. If we love them then we should be willing to rebuke them as the wages of sin is death. V1 – “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch yourself, lest you too be tempted” 2) The restoration of our brother or sister : we must have the desire to see them be restored again by the gospel as we would want this for ourselves as well and we should not feel good about others sinning, we must not be people who are comfortable watching people live in sin. 3) To fulfil the law of Christ by carrying the burdens of others : we should help our friends carry their burden as we have been asked to love our neighbours as ourselves , we must lift each other up in love and also strengthen one another as we struggle against sin. Romans 15:1-3 “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbour for his good , to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached fell on me”

SO HOW SHOULD WE REBULE ONE ANOTHER ? 1) Rebuke gently (V1) : first of all , if we want our rebuke to be received and understood by the person we are rebuking then our delivery is very important. If we want to restore and care for this person, then we must rebuke in a gentle manner , now the type of relationship you have with this person will depend on the way you rebuke them. With some people you may need to be firm and with someone not so much as every single person is different and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for the next. Therefore it is important that you are prepared before going into it, that you ask the Holy Spirit to guide you so that you do not speak based on the knowledge you might think you have, also pray that their hearts will be softened to accept the rebuke in the right way. “You who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness” 2) Rebuke knowing that we’re not above temptation (V1) : as we rebuke others, we must also be aware of ourselves and always be alert that we too do not fall into sin or even the same sin we are correcting someone against. “Keep watch on yourself , lest you too be tempted” we must remember that no matter how mature we might be in our walk, we can never be above temptation. 3) Rebuke while humbly recognising that we are nothing (V3) : we are not superior to the person that we are rebuking and so we must remind ourselves that we are Christians as a result of God’s grace and mercy and not because of anything we have or can do. “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. ” 4) Rebuke while remembering that we have to carry our own load (V4-5) : we shouldn’t compare sins with the people we are rebuking or even to anyone else as this will not matter on the day of judgement. I have in the past always compared my sins to other peoples and I always came to the conclusion that theirs was always greater and mine was never that bad. Its important that we ask the Lord for mercy and that we will walk in humility and that he will give us the ability to focus on ourselves instead of comparing our sin to that of others and most importantly the desire to live a righteous life. “But let each one, test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour . For each will have to bear his own load”.

Galatians 2:11-21 also deals with correction whereby Paul calls Peter our for his actions of hypocrisy because one minute he is comfortable eating with the Gentiles but when a group of men came from James, Peter then separated himself and only ate with the Jewish Christians which led the other Jews to follow in the example he was setting which could have then gone on to create problems and division. As Paul understood that what Peter was doing wasn’t right, he knew that he had to correct him because it was the right thing to do and that the work of God was more important. He didn’t waste any time and another thing we must remember is that no one is above correction, we are all bound to make some mistakes on this journey and so with mistakes come correction so lets prepare ourselves for it and ask God for grace. ” V11 and V14 “but when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, (no going behind his back) , because he stood condemned. “but when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “if you , though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

In three simple steps, help the person you are correcting to see their sin, point them to the word of God and then encourage them to change , pray with them, encourage them in any way you can, and most of all, be kind and correct in love. Another thing that we must remember is that in correction, there is a lot of love involved and so if you are in your feelings because you have been corrected then that’s just too bad. We ought to correct the people we say we love and care about, how do you watch the person you love go down the wrong path ? especially one you wouldn’t want to go down on ? it doesn’t make much sense to me and I appreciate that it might be difficult for whatever reason but we cannot live in deception , the bible is very clear on this topic and that should be enough to change our minds and soften our hearts.

Prayer : I pray that the Lord will help us understand the correct way to rebuke each other, that he will help us be discerning people and not people that live in deception. I pray that we will seek him for guidance before we make any decisions as to be led by him alone and that we will walk in love at all times remembering that any of us can be tempted. I pray for anyone who may be struggling with the concept of being corrected, that you will surrender and God will work on your heart to see that it is an amazing way for people to show their love for you. I pray that the Lord will really help us to be bold and to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to him and glorifies him. Amen

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