Wednesday, April 25, 2018

To REBUKE or not...

Words hurt and our deeds could hurt even more. Then not only are we wrong in the human perspective but we are wrong in the eyes of God too. In life we encounter someone we know who will wrong, not just a single person, but cause hurt to a whole lot of other people too. Someone could hurt us so bad that it could take a lifetime for the scar to disappear.

Not many people will correct the wrong. But correct we must with gentleness and love, correct-the ones we love. There is a way to correct and the other just breaks a heart, which is not necessary at all.

Anger is a common symptom when things go wrong. But anger is never justified. We wear anger to mask our pride. Pride never gets noticed and never confessed. We would love to think we just got angry because there was a reason. It’s not the reason that makes one mad, but rather that one felt humiliated, that makes one lash out. Therefore the saying, 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.' It’s not that you made a woman angry that she throws Hell at you, but rather that you humiliated her, is what makes her Hell itself. Do you understand?

It is pride that cannot accept defeat. It cannot learn because it is too proud. It does not want to be associated with change. It will not be corrected. It will not want any association with the one who can tell how erroneous the person’s opinion is. It will not be humbled and therefore-it cannot forgive. And therefore it masks itself with anger.

This, then, becomes our sin. Expression of anger is sin and pride tops it and goes unnoticed. But sin must be confronted and God will, let us know the error of our ways, if we only allow His will in our life. We have to be open to God and for His ways in our life. 

But sometimes we drive the person away, because we don’t want to be corrected. We want the life that we are currently living because we feel we finally belong. Sin is always comfortable. Our correction when it comes from God, will be an act of mercy.

To rebuke means to confront someone for the wrong action and to help them understand the consequences of it. A genuine rebuke is as Paul puts it, ‘truth in love’ Ephesians 4:15. Rebukes are often tough love.
But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.” Matthew 16:23. 

A good rebuke is where words are not minced. To the one who is willing, life presents many opportunities to learn and grow. A good rebuke is thought through carefully and framed. 

A leader must be open to accept change. If one surrounds oneself with people who only say pleasant things, one cannot make the right decisions, as one is unwilling to listen or learn.
We all know of our weak spots but we’d rather pretend that they don’t exist. And dare somebody speak it to us, we announce them as our enemy or we do the best thing we can, we drive them away. Prey tell me be honest to yourself, is this not what you do?

Rebuke - In Love

Okay, so you are now caught in a dilemma... should I talk to or should I just ignore it. At some point, we all get stuck on this verse. We think... ‘If I tell of what I know to be right, they will think I’m judging them.”

Jesus did not mean that we cannot pass a judgement when someone is clearly doing something immoral or evil. 
Matthew 7:1-5 "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, - Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. 
Jesus did say that after taking the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. This indicates that one may assist a brother with his own failing, after first addressing one’s own sinfulness. Condemnation involves hypocrisy which serves to elevate self over the other. 

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17
Jesus explains that we should seek out our brother in private. Often we rebuke our family and friends in public and never seek them out individually. Correction is best served from the ones we trust.

The way we look at things these days is, as-if everyone is our enemy and we make it our mission to correct them. We need to be loving and compassionate toward people.

If something is wrong, then it simply is.  And when making a judgment call, it must be made out of love. We cannot regard ourselves as infallible when we cannot even be certain about our own hearts. Love requires us to simply love. And when making a judgment call, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God is the Judge and remember harsh language does not befit any one; only love remains truly convincing.  

When Rebuking
  • Feel the emotions of another. Never rebuke in anger.
  • Look and listen and understand as there are many sides to a story.
  • Do not hurt people.
  • Don't destroy the other's dignity. In every dealing be honest.

God calls us to confront wrongdoings in fellow believers. As Christians we are to hold each other accountable by using God’s word to rebuke and correct misunderstandings and wrongdoings.

I received a chain mail on WhatsApp and I don’t believe or have never forwarded any of these things before. But I felt the nudge (the gentle push by the Spirit of God) to read the mail and so I did. It was sent by a friend. It was intended to convince the person (me) to send the mail to 14 people if the person loves God and if that person wants God to win the war with the devil. And if the person does not send then the devil has the permission of God to take the soul of the person.
Reading it - made me so mad, that I actually replied back as lovingly as possible, to the person as this was a Christian friend of mine.

I will explain in more detail:-
    • We are as Christians not to believe in chain letters, or whatever formats they come in.
    • God does not challenge anyone to send such mails.
    • He is the Almighty and He does not need our 14 contacts to establish Himself. He is self-established. His dominion is from eternity to eternity.
    • If He wants to give something, He will just give. But if He knows taking you the long way will profit you, then that is what He will do, not because it pleases Him, but it is for our good.
    • God is a rewarder of faith.
    • God's bountiful blessings! You or I cannot tempt God with all these filthy ways of ours. We can be pathetic in our ways of approach to God. We do not understand His tender heart. How it must hurt Him, that we never understand Him.
    • How can we drop down so low? John 3:16 says-He loved us so much, He sacrificed His only Son, so that we could have eternal life.

      It is when I was replying that I realized this is what I am writing on – rebuke.

      All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16

      I give you this charge; Preach the word: be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction.  2 Timothy 4:2

      Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you, rebuke the wise and they will love you.  Proverbs 9:8

      We must look at these verses as a whole. To rebuke and correct is necessary, but it must be done with the love in our heart and not an attitude of judgement and it must come from God Almighty. You or I cannot do that without His approval. There is a time and Purpose for everything under Heaven!

      Proverbs 12:1, "but he who hates reproof is stupid." If the person’s heart is truly for the Lord, they will be open to hearing loving rebuke if they are in sin. 

      I am a wretched sinner, I am nothing but for the grace of God. We are on a mission – our goal Heaven and what matters the most, is for all of us to get there after death, ASAP-AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, IMMEDIATELY. Jesus said, “Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:19 

      Confront in love. Accept others correction in love. Ask God for the gift of humility. Shakespeare said, ‘to thine own self be true’.
      I love William Shakespeare, in addition to the above, this one also I keep close to my heart, “Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
      Every relationship has its ups and downs. The friends that one has and their ways tested, do not let them go. Hold on to them.
      Shakespeare says 'grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel' In other words he implies to hold on to them as one would hold on to dear life. We all need someone who we could rely on to tell us that we have done wrong when we have. A rebuke is essential for the well-being of the soul. A rebuke is given to develop spiritual insight or it is meant to halt something that is destructive.

      When rebuked you see, a finger of accusation pointing towards you. When I speak something I should not, my cousin is quick to rebuke me. ‘Anita,’ he says, ‘a person who loves God does not speak that way.’ It may sound rude and sometimes harsh, for the way it sounds, but it still is the truth. I hear the words of correction often, believe me, my cousin does not mince words. He says what he has to say. He can be sarcastic, but nevertheless - however it comes, it is always the truth. Not all the time, do I want it? Not all the time, do I want to hear it? But it comes. And yes it is always good to be corrected. I know he means well.
      There is a great temptation to get angry when we are rebuked. Or to become defensive.
      A rebuke from the ones we love hurts less. Words have to be tender-hearted and gentle. Treat everyone with respect. We have to love and care enough to rebuke and yet to insist that love must overrule everything else. 

      It is for me when I watch something, to call it as it is. People say I am opinionated and maybe I am. There was a time that I would just speak my mind out. But not so now. I speak when God lets me and I am silent when I am told to be. But the fire is always in me.

      If something is clearly wrong, nobody wants to say something about it. And no we are not speaking of violence or the law and order situation in India or anywhere in the world, that is something else altogether.

      The sad thing in life is, most of us do wrong, and then we don’t want to be corrected. So we conveniently bring Jesus into the matter implying - "Judge not, that you be not judged.” That automatically makes the other person shut up. When one brings up the words of Jesus, who would want to say anything?

      I love to talk, I love to listen, I laugh the loudest and no I don’t think twice about it and I don’t stop myself- of course unless someone is being mocked, then yes I won’t laugh. But otherwise I love to have a good laugh.

      I believe there is a difference in a joke and a mocking session. Then there is stand-up comedy. And most of it is all rubbish. It is not a joke when one talks about sex, or makes sexist remarks, or uses foul language and or mocks someone. Whatever hurts anybody or anybody’s sentiment or makes a person uncomfortable is not a joke at all. It is a blatant lie. It is mockery and everybody has become blind and deaf to know the difference. When we can laugh at things like this and not feel weird about it, then something in us died a long time back.

      And this is precisely what we must realize that this humanity, this compassion, the tenderness, this ability to be gentle is lacking in us. We do not feel what we need to. Maybe and just maybe when we bring it back we will realize how ruthless and inhuman we have become. And hopefully we will transpire to be what God wants us to be-His people, compassionate, merciful and tender-hearted. Genesis 1:27 says we were made in God’s image and likeness – DO WE, RESEMBLE GOD IN OUR BEHAVIOUR? 

      Please do read:
      Rebuke 2-Trials
      Rebuke 3-The Wilderness
      Rebuke-4 The Sacrifice

      The celebration of the MASS!

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