Giving and receiving rebukes

How good are you at receiving a word of rebuke from a Christian brother or sister? It is hard to hear words that critique our words or behaviour. We want to defend, to excuse, to justify ourselves, to blame others, rather than admit that we sinned or acted unwisely, that we did not show love, or that we gossiped, were angry without cause, or maybe even broke the law.

In the book of Proverbs we are told:

“A rebuke impresses a discerning person
more than a hundred lashes a fool." (17:10)

How ready are you to give a word of loving rebuke to a Christian brother or sister?

"Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear." (Proverbs 25:12)

It will be a beautiful thing when, with all wisdom, love and good intention, we speak words to challenge and to bring the grace of the gospel to bear on other people’s lives. There has been a great emphasis in churches about the idea of speaking the truth in love to one another, but I don’t see much evidence of it actually happening. We shy away through laziness, or fear of the consequences, but in the end it shows a lack of love.

When God rebukes us, it shows he loves us and is committed to us:

"My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in." (Proverbs 3:11,12).

How ready are you to receive the rebuke of the Lord himself through his word and his providence? How “impressed” are you at the rebuke of your Christian family? Are you a good judge with precious words to wisely rebuke in love and truth?

Graham Nicholls is the Director of Affinity


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