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.”
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.