Sometimes an exhortation may take the form of a chisel that chips off a rough edge. While the process is painful, it may be necessary. That’s why the Apostle Paul urged Timothy to not only “correct” and “encourage” but to “rebuke” as well. Occasionally a rebuke is the most loving thing to give, even though the word speaks of a stern correction or reprimand.
I find it instructive that none of the disciples Jesus rebuked ever left him. In fact, even Peter stuck with Jesus after the Lord rebuked him by saying, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matt. 16:23). The disciples Jesus harshly rebuked experienced the greatest growth and success.
Yet, Jesus didn’t walk around with his finger on the hairline trigger of a loaded verbal gun, ready to fire rebukes at anyone and everyone. On the contrary, he first built the kind of relationship with his disciples that prepared them to profit from a rebuke. We must be sure we’ve invested enough time and effort in a relationship so a rebuke will prove beneficial. In fact, I only rebuke those who know I care about them. And then I only rebuke after much prayer and thought. I want to be sure my motive is to help, not hurt the recipient of my words. I also want them to know the rebuke doesn’t mean I love them less.
Remember, exhortations arrive in all sorts of packages. Occasionally, as Jesus showed, they may be wrapped in a loving rebuke.
Picture: Adi Goldstein
I’m currently teaching a series at Grace Baptist Church in St Helens, OR. entitled: Lord Jesus, Resurrect This. The eight-week series includes resurrect forgiveness, resurrect repentance, resurrect authority. The idea is that as we speak the Lord’s resurrection power into situations he heals our mind, transforms our thinking, and resurrects that which has been killed by hardship and sin. St. Helens is a beautiful town on the banks of the Columbia river with spectacular views of the river and Mt. St. Helens. If you visit introduce yourself and let me pray for you. If you’d like to listen to my messages you’ll find them here: Lord Jesus, Resurrect This