Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 10, 2013 16 comments

Raise your hand if you love to be criticized and told you’re wrong! Anybody? Nope, I didn’t raise mine either.

The word for this week is rebuke, which generally means to express sharp criticism of someone because of something they did or said. We as humans may enjoy rebuking others, but we don’t tend to like being the one who is rebuked. But being rebuked does have its benefits; we see in Proverbs 27:5 that, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” Similarly, Paul gives instruction to the young Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

But why are these verses true? Why is it good to be rebuked openly, and for us to rebuke others? If we are doing something that is contrary to God’s Word, we need to be told about it. If we don’t know we are doing wrong, we can’t try and fix that aspect of our lives. Sometimes the best way to be told is to be rebuked. Rebuking is often a sharp comment, so it may have a more dramatic effect in our lives than maybe a softer comment that we wouldn’t notice as much.

Don’t feel bad if you need to be rebuked by someone; even the apostle Peter needed to be rebuked pretty harshly by Jesus! We read about it in Matthew 16:21-23:

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’
Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’”

Peter starts out by rebuking Jesus, basically getting mad that Jesus would have to suffer and die. But Jesus turns it back on Peter, essentially calling him selfish and not concerned with God’s plan. Peter needed to be rebuked because He was being contrary to all of the prophecies in the Old Testament that had to be fulfilled, including Jesus’ suffering and death.

We, too, need to be rebuked if we are doing something that is contrary to God’s Word. If you are a Christ follower, this is why having a community of believers around you is essential - we need to have people in our lives that we trust to help keep us in line with God’s Word, and that are willing to rebuke us in love when needed. I encourage you to seek out such a community if you do not have one.


Anonymous said...

Isn't the relationship between God and man private? Man is accountable only to God for one's behavior or belief; no one else's business.

Katie said...

While what you said is true, people are also accountable to other people. Have you heard the saying, "No man is an island"? That's true; there is almost nothing that any one of us can do that doesn't in some way (perhaps indirectly) affect another person.

God is a God of relationship and community, and we are made in God's image. We as humans were made to live in relationship with one another, which means that what we do affects one another, and therefore we need to hold each other accountable. While the final judgment does remain with God, we sometimes need to rebuke one another because we love one another out of love for God.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Jesus tell the crowd stoning a woman for adultery, "That those without sin should cast the first stone". Why do you insist on "stoning" other Christians. What makes you an authority on what sin is.

Katie said...

You are correct as to what Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery. But, "rebuking" is far different than "stoning." Stoning is done in anger; rebuking is done in love. I would encourage you to read Logan's post from yesterday here.

No person is the absolute authority on what sin is; that is God's position. BUT, we can all read God's Word and work with each other on interpreting what it means and how it defines sin. When we live in Christian community with others, it is our job to help one another be the best followers of Christ that we can be. Sometimes the best way to keep a fellow believer on the right path is through rebuke, but always done in love.

Anonymous said...

No wonder some the nicest most Christlike women I know are so guilt ridden and unhappy!!! The social pressure from outside the Church plus the "loving stones" from self righteous members inside the Church. What an emotional trap! A constant denial of self but never Christlike. Creates perpetual bondage to the Church. No wonder people reject the Christian community and have their own Walk with the Lord.

JD70 said...

To Anonymous,

Please expand on your comment a bit more if you wouldn't mind. What emotional trap are you referring to? You seem to be reading between the lines something that just isn't there IMHO.

Thanks for any light you are willing to shed on this matter.

Logan Ames said...


I'm with Jason in my confusion as to what you are referring to and what exactly affected you in this blog post. However, I want to encourage you that it is such a blessing to us that you chose to not only read the blog but also openly share your thoughts, questions, and even concerns about what we write. We know that many more people have good thoughts, comments, and questions and just often don't want to speak out. But you chose to, so we thank you and welcome your thoughts.

I'm not sure if you felt that what Katie wrote in the original blog post was an "emotional trap", if you thought she said something to that effect in one of her comments, or if your statement wasn't referring to what she said at all. If you're referring to something she said, I don't see it. If you are referring to what happens so often in so many churches, I absolutely agree with you! The Church has failed miserably at properly and loving rebuking people in a way that builds them up. When you speak about kind, Christlike women who are guilt-ridden and unhappy, it breaks my heart if their feelings had something to do with "Christians" showing them a lack of love. I believe it should break all of our hearts, for it is not what Christ intends. We can't say anything else to those women who have been wounded except "sorry", and that we hope we can love them in such a way that they experience grace, truth, and encouragement in Christ.

I'm wondering if your feelings might have something to do with the connotation of the word "rebuke". It has such a negative connotation in this society because so many "Pharisees" in the Church have done it so poorly. But all I can do is ask you to see it for what Christ intends it. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). These are popular and powerful verses in the Bible, with our word "rebuke" right there in the middle! So, what does that tell us? First of all, if someone is rebuking someone else and not using the truth of God's Word, they might as well stop talking because what they are saying is meaningless! This doesn't mean the actual physical copy of the Bible must always be present for such a conversation, it just means that the person doing the rebuking must be getting their TRUTH from Scripture and nowhere else. As you questioned and as Katie pointed out, no person has the right or authority to say what sin is, but the same Scripture that is used for rebuking IS the very authority on what sin is. Secondly, the whole point of rebuking, along with those other things mentioned, is to TRAIN believers so that they "may be thoroughly equipped for every good work". If what is being said is not helpful for building someone up, encouraging them, and training them, then again, it's meaningless noise!

Logan Ames said...

One cannot be a "rebukER" without also being willing to be "rebukED". This is another area where many in the Church really have gotten this wrong. There are so many that love to be the ones "setting others straight". It's a pride thing for them and they want the glory to be theirs. But personally, I'd pay no attention to the words of someone who isn't even willing to look at his own life and see where he may need to accept correction from someone else. We've all known people like this, and how can we be sure that what they are saying is coming from the Lord if it isn't clear in Scripture and if they don't have enough humility to submit to the Holy Spirit in regards to their own lives? Ultimately, I'd encourage you to check any type of "rebuking" you hear with Scripture to make sure it is God-honoring. If it is God-honoring, the identity of the person doing the rebuking is irrelevant, because God has already done it through His Word and how the person receiving it responds to Him is all that matters.

Finally, the story you brought up about "throwing stones" is found in John 8. I encourage you to read it. The "stoning" has only to do with punishment, while rebuking has to do with much more than that. Stoning is about what happens now in response to what was done, while rebuking is about making a choice now that affects everything a person WILL DO from that point forward. Jesus did not stone the woman, but he most certainly did rebuke her. After telling her he would not condemn (punish) her, he finishes his conversation with her by saying, "Go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:11). You see, the fact that he chose not to punish her for the sin of adultery would be pointless if she didn't turn away from her sinful life. When you and I get pulled over for speeding and are blessed enough to only get a warning from the officer, and then we go out and speed again and get a ticket, the previous pardon no longer means anything. Jesus knows that this woman might only be focused on this one sinful act and hoping she doesn't face the wrath that was due her according to the law, while he knows that future wrath that happens because she doesn't leave her life of sin is much more dangerous. So, his goal in "rebuking" her was to build her up and equip her for the life he wanted her to lead. And, if anyone would ever wonder whether he was getting his truth from the Word, all we have to do is understand that he WAS the Word, and the Word was God!

Anonymous said...

Dictionary definition of "condemnation": a severe reproof, strong censure. Synomyms: rebuke ,reprimand. Related words: admonishment, chastisement. A woman is caught in adultery and Jesus did not condemn(rebuke) her. If Jesus, himself, did not "rebuke" a woman for adultery(a pretty serious sin), then on what authority do self rigtheous Christians rebuke the behavior of other Christians? Don't the teachings of Jesus emphasize love, mercy and forgiveness?

Anonymous said...

The emotional trap on women I am referring to is two fold: 1) Outside the church: "Too fat", not the prettiest girl in the room", "not on the A honor roll", etc. 2) Inside the church: "Not right with God", "transforming into a new Creature"; a constant denial of human instincts to "obey" the will of God. Add an a Biblically abusive husband as head of the house and the wife is reduced to an emotional wreck. One of the young ladies, I knew in college, later, gave me the highest compliment anyone has given me. "(I liked being around you because) I felt I could sin(be herself) around you". Her family, church and husband were very condemning. Later I visited her home and was saddened to see this bright, enjoyable straight A college student transformed into a badly dressed, eyes on the floor unhappy Christian wife whose husband rebuked her in front of me and her own children. I could always make her laugh but as she began to relax and enjoy my visit, her husband ordered her from the room quoting verses.
Doesn't the definition of sin and religious authority flow primarily from one's personal walk with God and Biblical values?

Logan Ames said...

To Anonymous:

I hope you understand that none of us who write these blogs or who do work for Worldview Warriors are of the condemning sort. We believe, as Paul says in Romans 8:1, that "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". That is a separate issue from what Katie and I wrote about in these posts. I understand that you tried to make an argument that condemnation and rebuke are the same thing, but they simply are not. Jesus never commands the church to condemn anyone, but he does command them to "show the immoral brother his fault" (Matthew 18:15). THIS is what rebuking is! You may not like what Scripture says, and you may not like that Jesus COMMANDS us to do this, but I encourage you to seek the Lord yourself on that if you are open to it. We all, as individual disciples, must wrestle with the words of Jesus and truths of Scripture, even the ones we don't like. You're using man's dictionary as your primary source, and not even a real definition - you used "synonyms". You then plugged in a synonym from man's dictionary in place of a word that is in God's Word! If you want to stand on that argument, no one can stop you. But again, if you are open to it, please seek the Lord on this. I can tell you that the actual Greek words that were written in the original New Testament text that were used for "rebuke" both mean "to show or convince someone of his fault". I checked the actual Greek New Testament I have here at home to be sure.

You asked the question "Don't the teachings of Jesus emphasize love, mercy, and forgiveness?" The answer is YES. And none of those things is mutually exclusive from rebuke. In fact, when done properly as Jesus intends, rebuke includes all 3 of those things. Look at the story you've been referencing. Jesus rebuked the woman in the sense that he declared her fault. However, he also loved her enough to give her another chance, showed mercy in that he did not give her the punishment she deserved, and forgave her in the sense that he no longer held her past sin against her but encouraged her to focus on her future. So, while you want to view these things as separate from rebuking, they are absolutely included.

It seems to me based on your comments that you have been very negatively affected by what has happened to you and some of your friends, and it is clear that the people who have come into your life and their lives have horribly misrepresented what Christ intended this important function of the Church to be. As a member of his Church, I can only say that I am sorry you and the people you love have had to experience that. I hope that, if you know myself and the others at Worldview Warriors and are just going by "anonymous" here, that you will make yourself known so we can all demonstrate these things together. I hope that if we don't know you, we meet you some day and are able to demonstrate Christ's love, even in rebuking you and being rebuked by you. That's the point. It seems like your friends have been rebuked by people who were not ever willing to be on the receiving end of a rebuke. That is simply pride that is not of the Lord.

Again, thank you for your continued conversation and thoughts on this difficult topic. It has certainly been beneficial to me. Blessings as you continue to seek the Lord!

Anonymous said...

Happy rebuking. Glad I am not trapped by guilt in your holier than thou Christian community.

Anonymous said...

Happy rebuking. Glad I am not trapped by guilt in your holier than thou Christian community. I simply believe in the unconditional love of God.

JD70 said...

I sure wish you would be willing to understand what is being conveyed Anonymous. Accountability is not a bad thing at all.

Anonymous said...

Sunday evening I heard Do Not Keep Silent and have been mauling some things over and see where the radio host and blog writers are coming from. I agree that God places us in a community of believers for a wide range of reasons, one being to have people around us to "call us out" when necessary and in a manner appropriate to the situation and relationship. I think that's why the radio host's regular references back to Lauren's comments (which I have been unable to find in order to place this conversation there) bothered me so. His strong, somewhat emotional, response to her comment about him being judgmental raised my eyebrows a bit and caused me to think. Is it possible that because of his personal issue or struggles with ______ (he would need to fill in the blank- inferiority, pride, jealousy, etc) that he cannot see that she is gently rebuking him? She may not have clearly stated that's what she's doing, but her thoughts non the less convey a rebuke of his approach to the situation. By responding so defensively and definitively he was missing her rebuke of him and thus becoming an illustration of the very thing he is condemning. And then missing an opportunity to see address the splinter in his own eye. Those are just my thoughts and you all will likely disagree, as that appears to be the standard practice. But I have certainly learned in my own life that the intensity to which I feel the need to defend something I said is generally directly related to something broken in me. Defending God's Word is important and valuable, but the approach is important as well. If we offend someone in our approach, an open door to hear God's truth is closed.

Jason DeZurik said...

Anonymous, I appreciate you posting and thank you so much for listening to Do Not Keep Silent. We all hope you are encouraged and equipped to serve Christ and His Kingdom through this ministry.

In regards to your post since you do not know the whole story I can see why you might be bothered by and even struggle with my comments. Here is just a taste of what we have been dealing with here at Do Not Keep Silent with Lauren and others. By their own words and actions it is very easy to figure out that they hold to a secular humanistic worldview and not a biblical worldview. I encourage you to read the threads on the following link to understand this. Some of these people claim to be followers of Jesus Christ and others; including Lauren have admitted to us on other threads that she is not a follower of Jesus Christ. Yet she and others attempt to "teach" on our Facebook page. Now we do not stop people from saying what they want to on our page but we will correct falsehoods and inconsistencies with the truth in love as we are called to do. I hope this clears some things up for you and we are always willing to discuss pretty much anything with anyone.

I would have posted more links but you can scroll down on the Do Not Keep Silent FB page to find them if you like as FB will not allow me to grab other links at this time.

Thanks again.