“He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue.” Proverbs 28:23 I think of rebuke as a strong harsh correction; almost like a reprimand. And to some degree, this is correct. The Hebrew translation of the word also means to reason; to reason together. Rebuking means to help others see the error of their ways, (sin) – to convince them of the truth…. I can remember times my parents convinced me of the truth… not fun 🙂 🙂 🙂
Conflict is never easy, well it isn’t in my life. It can make my stomach churn for days, especially if I think I’m the root of the conflict. I love people too much to think I have hurt them or said something which wounds. As a result, for years I’ve run from any kind of “reasoning together”. God’s word says, if I truly love those whom I say I do, then rebuking, correcting, convicting, chastening, proving, even arguing with them for truth’s sake (all words which the Bible uses to translate rebuke) shows them I care. You cannot profess to love someone and leave them in their sin.
There are right ways and wrong ways to correct someone. Unfortunately, I don’t always choose the right way. I’m still learning 🙂 I pray by the time I am old and gray I’ve learned the proper way to come alongside someone in reasoning together. Oh wait, I am old and gray…. Oh no… there is no hope…. Wait! I’m still breathing – there is still hope. 🙂 By the way, you can do it all correctly and still have it go all wrong. When this happens, it can be very frustrating, painful and emotional. It’s at those times we must remember who’s in charge.
How about the way we respond when rebuked? There are wrong ways and right ways to respond. First look at the person who is doing the rebuking and their intentions. Are they a wise, discerning, godly person, or someone who likes to feel good by sharing with everyone else what they are not doing correctly? Do they truly have our best in mind? If they’re wise and discerning then our response should be godly in return. We should examine the situation in light of what has just been revealed, taking the situation before God, and making corrections accordingly. Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 7:5 says it best, “It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.” Only wise counsel should be considered everything else should simply be set aside.
Did you notice the verse says in the end they (the one doing the rebuking) will find favor? I suspect, the “favor” may not always come in our lifetime; it may be a reward received in eternity. Those times when friendships are severed or forever changed as a result of biblical rebuking can seem devastating. It doesn’t matter if you’re the one doing the rebuking or the one rebuked. When relationships are changed, or forever lost, in a negative way, it’s painful! The flip-side-when relationships change in a positive way the relationship deepens and grows into what God intended; something WONDERFUL!!!
As we go through life together let us rebuke, reason together in love, bearing one another’s burdens and encouraging each other as long as it is still today. (Proverbs 28:23; Ephesians 4:2; Hebrews 3:13)
Until next time – Be Encouraged!