Loving Rebukes

Monday, October 23                    

We learn from one another.  Part of the reason God founded the Church was so that we would rub shoulders with one another.  Each one is given one or more gifts in order to edify fellow believers. That includes the truth that we are responsible for our brother.  Paul talks about that in Galatians 6.  Unfortunately, most of us don’t take that seriously—for several reasons.  We have sin to deal with in our own lives.  Paul says in Gal. 6:1 that those who are spiritual should deal with it.  We hesitate to think of ourselves as spiritual.  Who am I to tell someone else about their failings?  Another reason is the fear of being rebuked or rejected.  “He won’t listen to me, anyway.”  Another:  “It’s the elders that should do that.”  It doesn’t really matter whether those are viewed as legitimate reasons or excuses, the ministry of reconciliation is not being done.  I have had very few people approach me to point out what I’m doing wrong.  And most of those  come with a critical spirit, not to help me overcome a problem.  But I thoroughly respect those who are trying to help me.  They demonstrate love for me.  One of my co-workers in Bolivia was a man who consistently did that.  Bill became one of my cherished friends.  Someone said “The man who loves you most is the man that tells you most truth about yourself.”  I buy that.  Rebuking in love is an art; it’s also a command.

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