Rebuking and forgiving......
“So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17:3-4
How often do I “absorb” something that has been done wrong to me, allow the matter to infect my soul, and then lose a relationship. Why don’t I rebuke those I love when they are clearly offending me or doing something obviously wrong?
Most of us prefer to talk to others about the friend that else let us down, disappointed us, wounded us or offended us. But can you imagine Jesus or the apostles acting like that? Of course not. They were all transparent and direct—life is too short to let things go on like that!
Jesus rebuked Peter to his face and told Thomas to stop doubting. He called the religious leaders frauds and snakes! Paul minced no words in setting things straight that when friend or foe stood in the way of the gospel—-no matter who it was and what the setting!
I realize that during the present pandemic, our political leaders are not at a loss of words of rebuke and “correction" for their opponents, but that’s not the same thing here. The words from our leaders are angry and vicious—they are an embarrassment, not an example, of human compassion.
But when I consider my own life, I refrain from confronting and “rebuking” a brother or sister for one of three reasons:
A lack of love. I simply don’t care enough about their well-being enough to give them a “hard word”. It’s easier to be indifferent to the offender than to engage with that person that’s hurt me.
A lack of courage. There are times that I have done the right thing and rebuked one that I love,—-and I have done it in great affection—-but I have been “blown away” by their response. Quite often if you follow Jesus’ commands people do not respond in kindness and appreciation, but with venom and vengeance. I won’t mention names and places, but I have, on occasions, told one I loved very much the truth, and I have been cut out of their lives. Things have never returned to where they were before—I became an enemy. So I retreated, determined that it was more important that they love me than I show them true love—— and this is cowardly on my part.
I am doing worse things! This is the most disgusting and pitiful excuse. Even though I know that those I love are doing things that are “bad for them” and inappropriate, I refrain from rebuking them because of the log in my eye! And its a shameful way to live to have to always walk around with a log in your eye! I need to get the log(s) out of my own eye so that I can help (rebuke) my brothers and sisters that are walking around blinded!
God is showing me these “log”, and perhaps He is presently showing the nations the “logs’ in our national agendas. Let us live in love and be unafraid to rebuke those we love, from the heart; let us us love each other sincerely enough to invest the time required to talk to them and point out the offense that has harmed us; let us listen to the loving rebukes of those that love us who are trying to help us remove logs from our own eyes.
….and prayer that our politicians might have similar goals.