Memorise Romans 12:21
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another.”
It is never nice to have to tell someone that he or she is in the wrong. Often, the person reacts unpleasantly and the one who does the rebuking is hurt in the process. Few possess the humility to accept a rebuke in a godly manner. Furthermore, the person who rebukes can sometimes lack love and meekness thus making the situation worse than it should be. It is not infrequent to hear of friendships severed as a result. Nonetheless, as we can see from today’s passage, correcting the fault of a brother is instructed in Scripture. Although many of us find it something that is difficult to do, God does require us to continue to persevere at it. James explains that the act will benefit the person greatly even to the extent of rescuing his soul from death. Without your act of correction, that person may continue to commit a multitude of sins. Your act of correction can be used by God to turn him around and is actually a blessing to him. Proverbs 27:6 tells us that faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. A true friend will tell us when we are in error even when it hurts.
However, before we go about to rebuke others, we must bear in mind some principles taught in God’s Word. Christ teaches in Matthew 18:15 that the rebuke should be done privately. This will save the person embarrassment. Galatians 6:1 tells us that we must correct in meekness. Our own hearts should be filled with humility. And as we do so, we must be reminded that we are just as vulnerable to falling ourselves and therefore we should be compassionate and always be humble. Romans 15:1 exhort us who are stronger to bear those who are weaker. We must possess the attitude of care and love for those who are weaker and who offend. Proverbs 15:1 teaches us to be careful of the word spoken in anger. It is better to refrain from rebuking while in anger. Instead, do so only when you are calmer and less emotional. In addition, we must be careful not to judge. It is easy to do so given our wicked hearts and we easily forget that we are weak ourselves and that judgement belongs to God (Matthew 7:3-5 and Romans 12:19). Finally, remember to pray and ask God for strength and wisdom to rebuke correctly.
Thought: Are we rebuking out of anger or love?
Prayer: Lord, teach me to rebuke in love..