Reality of Suffering

Poverty, natural disasters, abuse, pain, sickness… death. Or grief, frustration, hatred, bitterness, heartbreak, anxiety… The list goes on and on. What exactly am I listing? I’m sure we all know that these are all the common things that we label under the word “suffering.”

Our human minds would automatically think of suffering as something bad, brutal and the complete opposite of joy. Suffering is, “the state undergoing pain, distress, or hardship” as the Oxford Dictionary states.

“If God is so good, why does he let bad things happen?”

Have you ever wondered why such things have to happen? It just seems like something useless in our lives, only dragging us down and bringing into our lives pain, distress and hardship. But is it really? Or are we viewing suffering in the wrong way? 

A familiar question I am sure everyone has asked at some point in their lives is: “If God is so good, why does he allow suffering to happen?” But I want to ask a question back in response: Are we asking the right question? 

After all, who are we to even ask such questions? By asking this, we are implying that we – sinful, evil, unworthy human beings – deserve anything other than the wrath of God. What makes us think that we deserve any good or for our lives to be smooth sailing? We, with our self-centred and selfish minds,  only ask this question because we judge God based on how well he meets our desires for our lives. Our suffering is the result of the fall; the result of the free will we have abused and because of our sin, this world is broken. As harsh as this may sound, this is the reality of the world, and the reality of how we so often view God. We forget the most fundamental attribute of God: His holiness. This attribute is present in all the other attributes. Meaning, His love if holy, His justice is holy, His grace is holy… etc. He absolutely cannot face us, sinful and wicked human beings and must therefore punish our sin in His holy justice.

Why is suffering important?

As we continue to run towards Christ during hard times, we will certainly grow closer to God. Think of it this way: if there is nothing hard or bad going on in our life, and everything is going perfectly according to plan, would we find the need to seek God? Just as James 1:3-4 says, “the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” After every struggle you go through,  look back to see how God has guided you and shaped you through it. Each trial will solidify your belief and trust in God, drawing you closer and closer to Him.

When we look at all Jesus’ disciples, we can see they all lived lives of suffering: Peter and Andrew was crucified, Bartholomew was beheaded, James was executed with a sword, John was boiled alive, Thomas was speared and a lot more happened to the rest of the disciples. We can see that their lives were filled with suffering and countless trials and spiritual battles. However, they found something of even more value than the suffering they experienced on earth because their eyes fixed on something beyond what they saw. “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (2 Corinthians 4:17). The glory that comes after is incomparable to any suffering we will experience on earth.

Is that the end?

God doesn’t just leave us to suffer alone. Remember this one thing: God will never place suffering or tribulation in our lives too hard for us to handle. This is confirmed in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” No matter how hard of a tribulation we are going through, there will always be a way out: through obedience towards God.

Christ left us an example of how to live during suffering. Christ, who had to drink from the cup of God’s wrath, underwent the worst, most shameful punishment that no one else in history had ever experienced –  even though he didn’t deserve it. These are known to be the darkest hours in history because it was truly God’s wrath on Christ; the worst suffering a man could ever experience. However, his obedience towards God drove him to complete His task and his purpose on Earth up till that critical point on the cross. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)

With this in mind, we must learn to rejoice in our sufferings and to remember to have our eyes always fixed on the cross in whatever hard times we are going through. Going back to our original question, I hope we can all wonder instead at another question: how can God be so gracious and loving to us, sinful human beings who deserve nothing other than His wrath?

Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.

Too Busy for God’s Word…

Assessment deadlines, church ministries, family priorities, extracurricular activities. 

Term 1 is flying by fast and somehow, we are all drowned in our own busyness of our daily lives. This is where we reach the top of the hump and find ourselves stressing out for all sorts of things. We are drained both physically and mentally.

Not only do we find ourselves extremely busy but we also have to face the guilt of leaving our Bibles unread.

So then. What should we do?

It’s something that most of us struggle with: time. How often do we use our time to scroll through social media, watch or even study, but forget to read God’s Word daily? This problem is a problem of priority. And this is something crucial that this generation needs to change. What your heart values and prioritizes the most determines your actions and what you choose to do every day. For example, if you value watching dramas, you would certainly not hesitate to binge-watch them all night. But what I want us all to do, right now, is to self-introspect ourselves. How important is daily meditation on God’s Word to us?

However, daily meditation is crucial and we need it in order to grow in the knowing of God. Growing in the knowing of God is a sign of spiritual growth. This means that without reading the Bible daily, we won’t be able to grow in the knowing of God and hence, we will not be spiritually growing; instead, we will be spiritually dead.

His delight is in the law of the Lord…

Psalm 1:1-4 states:

“Blessed is the man

    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

  but his delight is in the law of the Lord,

    and on his law he meditates day and night.

  He is like a tree

    planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

    and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does, he prospers.

  The wicked are not so,

    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.”

This Psalm compares the wicked with the righteous. What I want to emphasize here is how a righteous person’s “delight is on His law… he meditates day and night.” 

Oftentimes when we read the Bible we view it as a checkbox – we tick it off the daily to-do list, but we may not necessarily delight in the Word itself. 

If we look up the definition, we find that the word “delight” means: “a feeling of extreme pleasure or satisfaction”

If we honestly reflect, do we feel pleasure and satisfaction when we meditate on God’s word daily? Or are we too invested with how busy we are to even concentrate while reading?

The Matthew Henry Commentary states: 

“The entire affection which a good man has for the law of God: His delight is in it. He delights in it, though it be a law, a yoke, because it is the law of God, which is holy, just, and good, which he freely consents to, and so delights in… All who are well pleased that there is a God must be well pleased that there is a Bible, a revelation of God, of his will, and of the only way to happiness in him.”

Psalm also reveals the effect of people who are righteous and meditate on God’s word on the world around them. These types of people are described as prosperous trees, bearing fruit for themselves and others. It’s the opposite of those who don’t, who, as the Psalms describe are like the “chaff that the wind blows away”.

Man does not live on bread alone…

Matthew 4:4

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

A human body cannot survive long without eating. If we’re being specific, according to research, humans can survive without food for only up to 3 weeks. We all know that we need to eat every day to give us the nutrition we need on a daily basis. Likewise, this verse clearly shows how eating and drinking are not the only things needed to keep us living. We also need God’s Word each day to keep us alive. Just like we need nutrition daily to give us energy and strength for the day ahead, we also need to be constantly fed by God’s Word every day to sustain us as we fight temptation.

So now what?

The problem starts inside our hearts. When we start realizing the importance of daily meditation for ourselves, then we will start to value and prioritize it more. Even studies cannot be an excuse to take up your devotion time. When we start building the habit of daily meditation on God’s Word, we will find that it is amid the busyness of our lives that we need it the most.

The thing is, none of us will find the strength, willingness and motivation for such a change of heart and lifestyle unless God first gives us an understanding of how important it truly is. Hence, the importance of prayer. As much as this may sound light, it is a very true and heavy reality. And it’s sadly something a lot of people just miss and fool around with. 

This is obviously easier said than done, but I invite us all to learn together and spend some time each day delighting in God’s Word. Start from short ‘bites’ first, and together we can build up the habit of reading the Bible every day, even amidst our busy lives.

Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.

Wisdom or Knowledge?

How would you define the word “wisdom”? What is it, and why is it so important to us? One of the most common things people compare wisdom to is knowledge. Even when I look up the synonyms of wisdom, the most common words found are intelligence, understanding, insight and perception. However, as much as it seems accurate, wisdom is way deeper and far more important than all of those. In this article, we will delve into the meaning and importance of wisdom and discover how to become wiser ourselves, through several verses from the book of wisdom itself, the Bible.

What is wisdom?

So, what is wisdom exactly? And how is it any different to knowledge?

To us, human beings with such limited understanding, the word wisdom appeals to us as knowledge. However, the Hebrew word for wisdom,  “CHOKMAH” (חָכְמָה)  means way more than the mere knowledge that we would think of it as. This word refers not only to mental knowledge but also action or applied knowledge. As Charles Spurgeon would say, “Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”

Let’s look at several verses from the book full of wisdom itself – most of which are from Proverbs, a book that speaks of wisdom in great depth.

  1. The wise can always be wiser.

“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;

teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

  and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

  • Proverbs 9:9-10

One principle that we should keep is that becoming wise isn’t just a point in your life that you reach, and then stop. The wise can always be wiser, no matter how wise this person is. Becoming wiser takes more – it’s a life-long process. The fact that King Solomon, one of the wisest Kings of all time, still made plenty of mistakes and committed many sins despite his great wisdom, proves that the wise still have plenty of things to learn through the fear of the Lord

To become wise means that we have to learn to fear God. To fear the Lord means giving your undivided attention to God and always directing your heart towards God; to be more Christ-centered. May we pray the same prayer in Psalm 86 – to fear God more and grow in wisdom. 

  1. Living a wise life.

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

  • Ephesians 5:5-7

Through this verse, Paul urges us to be very careful in the way we live. We must ensure that the ways of our life are not unwise, but wise. Paul emphasises how the days we are living in right now are evil, making it harder for us to ignore the world’s evilness and live in the way that God wants us to. We have to be careful that our lives are not wasted on unwise actions. Even though living wise is undoubtedly hard, we need to ask God daily to help us make wise decisions throughout the day. 

  1. Taking advice.

“Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

  • Proverbs 13:10

Let’s be honest. Taking advice is something that everyone struggles with. Whether it be advice from parents, friends or anyone else, our pride seems to kick in and make it extremely hard to accept advice. However, Proverbs warns us that pride will certainly not get us anywhere. It will instead stir up conflict and strife in our lives. Something that should always be kept in mind is how wise people become wiser by listening to others’ advice. So, how do we become wise? To gain wisdom, we must humble our hearts and listen to the people God put in our lives to correct and rebuke us.

  1. Influence of those around you.

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”

  • Proverbs 3:20

Another very important thing is the people you decide to hang around with. This is something that many of us don’t realize impacts us. However, the people you hang around with will surely impact you – from the way you act to your whole lifestyle. Proverbs tells us to walk with the wise and not fools. Each friendship we start is something that should be thought through thoroughly, to ensure that we are not being around people who may impact us for the worse.

  1. Prayer.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

  • James 1:5

Finally, wisdom is something that the world cannot give: it’s something that only can be received from God 

 through true prayer and willingness of heart. When we examine our prayers, how often do we ask for worldly things? For money? Fame? Relationships? The list can go on and on. We must remember to pray for the things that the world cannot offer – that includes wisdom.

Let us learn together, whole-heartedly, not to live this life as unwise, but wise, and learn to take advice through true and humble prayer.

Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.

Another year, only by God’s grace.

It’s the New Year once again. When we ponder upon the past year, what do we find? Fun memories, past events and milestones. But is that all we should do? What should we do for the next coming year? Every new year given to us is only by God’s grace, so it’s vital we don’t take it for granted!

At the start of each year, we usually create goals and wishes that we aspire to accomplish and tick off that list by the time the year ends. But when we evaluate what we want for the coming year, how much of it points towards materialistic things, temporary pleasures like money, acceptance… etc? These goals can even be unrealistic at times and our success in achieving them isn’t guaranteed either– while we might have motivation at the start of the year, it all seems lost by the end. Doesn’t living this way feel repetitive, mundane and tiring? Whether we succeed in ticking off the list of goals or not, is this all there is to every single year?

One thing we can never forget is that day by day, year by year, all that we have is God’s grace given to us once again. Our lives depend that much on God and His grace to us. Something we often forget about is that God can take that grace away from us anytime. If God has led us through the year, we must not forget that it is only by His grace alone. So how does this realisation change what we must do for the coming year, compared to the past years when our focus was on mere, temporary pleasures?

“A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God’s boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it.” – D. L. Moody

This quote from an evangelist, D.L. Moody reminds us that we depend on God’s grace day by day and every single day God provides for us. How wonderful it is to have a God whose grace is indeed sufficient for both our smallest and largest needs every day!

The Knowing of God

Each new year, we must strive to know God even more than the year before. This is something that not a lot of people think about, even though it’s one of the most crucial things in our lives. A lot of people miss the importance of growing in the knowing of God, and even I have only thought deeply about this since recently. 

In Rev. Agus’ sermons, I have learnt that the centre of everything we do should be the knowing of God, though it is impossible to do alone. The knowing of God is crucial because without growth in the knowing of God, there is no spiritual growth in our lives – our lives will be dry, with no zeal or passion for God. To truly know God isn’t something that’s easy; we have to persevere to learn it. In fact,  it takes way longer than a lifetime even to get a glimpse of the mysteries of God’s character! Once again, I was reminded that the more we know God, the more we realise we don’t know God. God’s mysteries are too great for us humans to comprehend and in the end, no one will ever fully understand everything about God in this lifetime. 

As mentioned before, growing in the knowledge of God is definitely not something we can do alone. In fact, the task itself seems impossible! That’s exactly why need the help of the Holy Spirit to shape our hearts in humility so that we may grow to know God more and more. We must be willing to be humbled and earnestly ask God in prayer to “remove the heart of stone from our flesh, and give us a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26-27) which involves softening our stone-hardened hearts by replacing it with a heart of flesh. If we truly do know God, it is only by His grace. In turn, it is when we know God that we find the desire to serve God more and more.

J.I Packer says, “There’s a difference between knowing God and knowing about God. When you truly know God, you have energy to serve Him, boldness to share Him, and contentment in Him.” 

The more we realize the importance of knowing God, the more we realize how much time we have wasted in the past years. At the same time, we realise that from here, we can learn to know God even more.

If God has given us another year to live, another opportunity to know God more, shouldn’t we seize this opportunity and not take it for granted? How long are we going to continue living our repetitive years seeking worldly things that won’t even matter in the end? To know God should be our ultimate goal and what we earnestly seek for each year. 

Our Future?

The truth is, we definitely don’t know anything about our future:  everything we will undergo, and whether it will be good or bad. Despite this, those who know and trust Him can rest assured, knowing that God will be with us through each step we take, all the while strengthening our relationship with Him as we become closer and closer.

This coming year, are you willing to learn to know God even more year with me, though it may be hard?

Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.

Our limited time

Our Limited Time

Have you ever looked back to your past memories and questioned if it was really that long ago? Or maybe, you’ve felt like you just got given your exam notification yesterday, but the test is tomorrow, and you haven’t started studying! This all links back to one thing we often contemplate: time. How often do we use our time for what actually matters? Not a lot. And this is something that the majority, if not everyone, struggles with. Once we realise how short and brief our time on Earth is, we’d be surprised!

Psalm 39:4-6

“O Lord, make me know my end

    and what is the measure of my days;

    let me know how fleeting I am!

Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,

    and my lifetime is as nothing before you.

Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah

    Surely a man goes about as a shadow!

Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;

    man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!

We live a very short life, and Psalms even describes it as a “mere breath.” Yet, even if we know this, do we really change how we do things and use our time? We idolise the things of this world and spend our time on our phones (social media), binging on movies, obsessing over money or even getting too invested in our studies. As result, we forget what we really need to spend our time on. 

What’s in your heart determines what you do and, as a result, how you spend your time. We tend to spend most of our time on what we value the most in our lives. This is why we must ensure that what’s in our hearts is not set upon worldly things, but the things of eternal value, so that we can learn to spend our time on what really matters instead. Ultimately, all worldly things won’t last, and there will be no purpose in them other than to satisfy us temporarily, so will it matter after we die? These things would only last while we live on earth and have no other value after that; all the time that we would have spent on them will be wasted! Our hearts and minds should focus only on what will last for eternity – our relationship with God.

Back to the Fundamental Principles

As you may already know, the chief end of man, the main purpose of man’s life, is to glorify and enjoy him forever. If we know that God created us, then we must also understand He defines us and sets our purpose for life as well. Our job in our very short life is to glorify God in every way possible, using the talents that God has gifted each and every one of us with.

1 Cor 10:31

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 

What should we be spending our time on?

As teenagers in this society, we tend to waste our time on useless things and worldly temptations. Just like mentioned above, we must seek every opportunity to glorify Him and our lives must be dedicated to serving God and God only. The teenage years are extremely important in shaping us in humility to serve God and glorify Him. Doing this is definitely not easy with all the temptations around us; it needs perseverance and earnestness. We must remember that we can’t do this alone, but we need God to strengthen us each day to persevere through this. We just need to have willingness and earnestness in seeking God through our prayers and daily meditation on God’s Word.

Finally, in the book, Don’t Waste Your Life, written by John Piper, one of its famous lines  is:

“But whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life.” ― John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life

This is something we should genuinely ponder on and examine in ourselves each day. Are we really using our limited time on earth wisely? Or are we just wasting our teenage years for “fun”? Is our life “Christ-centred” and “Christ-exalting”?

Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.

Happiness and God. Where do I fit?

Do you ever wonder where you can find the things that will make you happy?

We often try to find happiness through the things in this world. But nothing in this world can make us fully content and satisfy our souls. This is because the things in this world are only temporary; they don’t last forever. If you were to get the best things in this world, you would never catch up to the latest technology, or trend. This world keeps on changing. You will never get everything you want.

Think of it this way: Our soul is like a hole…

But the problem is our soul is of eternal value. We want to try to make ourselves fully happy, content and satisfied. But if we find the source of happiness from this earth, full of things of temporary value, it will never fill our souls up, no matter how many things we have. The only thing that can fill your eternal soul up, is something else that is also of infinite value. And that is God. Nothing else can ever make us happier than God himself.

Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher and mathematician once said:

“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made know through Jesus Christ.”

Blaise Pascal

The only thing that can truly fill this ‘vacuum‘ in our hearts is God. It cannot be satisfied with any other thing on earth, ONLY God, through Christ Jesus.

Happiness has become an important factor that defines our life in this post-modern age as teens. Yet, we don’t realise that there is something more that can satisfy our souls than just the things we can see in this world — it is only God that can make us truly happy.

Introducing Sin

Sin is rebellion against God. It all started with The Fall, and ever since mankind fell into sin, all the generations until now have had a sinful nature. As Romans 5:12 states, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people because all sinned.” (Read Genesis 3 for the story!)

According to 1 John 3:4, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; sin is lawlessness.”

God’s ultimate design is meant to be for us to find our satisfaction and enjoyment in Him alone. But in sin we turn away from God, and as a result, we seek happiness without God.

The Curse of Sin

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The wages of sin is death, both physical and spiritual death. Because of our sins, we are all spiritually dead meaning we are separated from God. Because of the curse of sin, we are never truly satisfied when we try to find happiness because we are separated from Him, our only true source of happiness.

This spiritual death leads to our physical death where then we will be eternally dead — eternally and completely separated from God.

Reconciliation and True Happiness

The good news is, Jesus painfully died on the cross just for us — sinful and wicked beings, so that we can be reunited with Him and have a relationship with Him. He did something that we don’t deserve, yet His love for us is more than our sin and iniquities.

As Colossians 1:20 states: “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

How can God make us happy?

So we now know that God is our only source of true happiness, but the question remains:

How does God give us full satisfaction?

This is what the Bible says about this. Here are three things how God is our ultimate happiness.

Joy in Having a Relationship with God

Psalm 16:8-9,11

“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

If we truly have God in our hearts, Psalm 19 states that we will receive happiness and find joy in the Lord. We become happy in the enjoyment of God, having hope in Him. This is what makes us happy: having a relationship with God. Having a relationship with God is the greatest gift you can ever receive because in Him, you find truth, protection and hope. This is something that the world cannot offer. Friends can hurt you, what you put your hope in won’t always happen. But this free gift that God offers to us assures true hope and joy in the Lord that will never fail us.

Joy in our suffering

Romans 5:1-4

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

This joy that God gives to us, doesn’t mean that we, as Christians will never experience any struggles or suffering because suffering is the result of sin. But, we learn to rejoice through suffering. The reason God gives us suffering is to strengthen our

faith and draw us closer to Himself — this shows us the significance of having a relationship with God.

Locked-in Happiness

John 16: 22

“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”

John 16:22 says that your heart will rejoice, and no man can take that joy from you. All the things in this world can be taken away by man or the world. Having the assurance that our joy in God is locked in forever once we’ve received it and that no man or anything can take that away from us, proves to us that this is a promising kind of happiness that definitely cannot be found anywhere in this world no matter how much we try. It’s an unbreakable happiness between you and God. This kind of joy is more than worth it because it is inseparable.

Where’s Your True Happiness?

God’s love for us and the happiness He gives us could never compare to the world’s happiness and satisfaction. All of the worldly desires will never be enough to fully satisfy our souls. Where is your true happiness? Have you confessed your sins, believed in what Jesus has done and place your happiness in God? The happiness the world offers is fleeting, it’s only temporary. The happiness God offers us is eternal and everlasting. In God is where you find true joy.

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2

Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.

Loving Rebuke

What comes to mind when the word rebuke comes up? Some may instantly think of parents, friends, past experiences, and so on. We might even think it’s very annoying. But have we ever thought of what could happen if rebuke didn’t exist?

One of the greatest acts of love we can give each other is a rebuke. Rebuke limits and restricts us from our destructive behaviour. Without rebuke, we would probably be way more sinful and wicked than we are right now. Even though we find it hard to accept rebuke, we must remember that the correct type of rebuke is meant to be an act of love for us. It is very simple just to let rebukes pass by, and ignore them, but actually listening to each rebuke may have eternal implications.

God put people like family, friends, and mentors in our life to rebuke and correct us. Many times rebuke can be poorly delivered; maybe at the wrong times, with anger, or the motivation for the rebuke is not quite right. However, we want to make every one of the rebukes count for us, letting God deal with the rest. The important thing is that you make an effort to accept that rebuke humbly and give thanks to God for those people in your life who love you so much that they can tell you something hard and difficult.

2 Timothy 3:16-17; 4:2:

“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. Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

2 Timothy notes that Scripture can be a source of rebuke, correction, and training for us. Through the Bible, we can learn many things that we might not know until we pay great attention, and even tell us something we’re doing wrong that’s worth fixing. The Bible confronts us, and leads us to the right path, not the destructive, even though it may be harder. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

When talking about rebuke, there are mainly two types of people.

The first is the one who embraces rebuke; who is wise and walks in the path of righteousnesses. These people listen to rebuke, fix their ways, and accept rebuke in humility, love and understanding. 

However, the second type of person decides to despise rebuke, and not accept rebuke; they are selfish and on their way to the path of destruction, which may lead them to great danger. To be honest, we all sometimes act like the second person, me included. When parents rebuke us, we may realise that we grumble and complain, doing not-so-obvious acts like rolling our eyes or making gestures. We may find ourselves doing that a lot of the time when people rebuke us. Nonetheless, we all must remember that God has put these people in our lives to correct us and rebuke us lovingly, and may we accept it in humility, and pray that it may affect us positively.

Apart from receiving rebukes from other people, we must also learn to give. For rebuke to succeed, it takes two people, one being the giver, and the other being the one who receives. Before we rebuke others though, there are a few things to consider.

First, before rebuking others, take a look inside yourself first and see if your heart is in the right place. Matthew 7:5 clearly states “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.” This verse basically means, that before you rebuke (take a speck out of) someone, you must deal with your own problems (the log in your eye) first, only then will you be able to successfully warn and rebuke others. In other words, we must evaluate or self-examine ourselves first to see if we have the same problem first before we start evaluating and correcting others. 

Secondly, you must approach someone with rebuke the way you want to be approached. As humans, we have a spirit of criticism which definitely does not help in the process of rebuking others. We have to make sure that we’re rebuking them humbly, and consider the timing, the tone and the motivation. Say it not as criticism, but as a brotherly correction. (Matthew 7:12)

Thirdly, pray for the person, before and maybe even after a rebuke. Pray that the person may be willing to accept the rebuke and that you may be able to get to the point, without criticising.

Finally, let me wrap up with this one verse. I hope this verse can bring realisation about the importance of rebuke, and how we may see it differently from now on.

Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness;

    let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head;

    let my head not refuse it.

Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.”

Psalm 141:5

Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.

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