All Stemming From Motive.
Leviticus 9 gives us one of the earliest indications on how we should be rebuking each other.
“‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.’” (Lev. 19:17-18)
There’s a few things that come to mind when I read these verses. To begin, we shouldn’t hate our neighbor. To go further with this thought, perhaps we shouldn’t hate anyone.
The next statement gets interesting.
Why would God inspire Moses to write instruction on rebuking our neighbor, right after instruction to not hate our neighbor? Perhaps I’m off base here, but this passage seems to indicate that we should be willing to rebuke our neighbor to prevent hate?
The passage continues with not seeking revenge and not holding a grudge. Instead, we should be loving as unto ourselves. So, even in Old Testament Law, signs seem to point to rebuking as part of loving.
The unique part for me in all this is how pertinent this passage is to western culture today. Let’s face it, we’re taught from a young age to ignore those people whom cause us struggle (or hate, if we want to go that far).
As adults, in work settings, we’ll distance ourselves or avoid that co-worker who gets under our skin. This is when the rebuke becomes such a baffling concept.
- Who in their right mind would go rebuke a person in their life, who they can’t stand to even look at?
- Who in their right mind would openly get into a discussion about that person’s behavior or actions?
In today’s western world, our ‘I’m okay, you’re okay’ society is full of people who really aren’t okay. But discussing this and addressing conflicts seems ludicrous. Yet, according to this passage, it’s a step in the right direction to not hating a person.
I’ve Been Rebuked A Lot
As I’ve stated in earlier posts, I am fairly vocal about my faith, my work, my hobbies and just about anything I even remotely care about in life.
I’ve also talked a lot about my love for Peter, because I often feel like the disciple who keeps speaking and acting impetuously. I’m a zero to sixty kind of guy in most scenarios. Peter’s trials resonate with me.
As someone who has been rebuked frequently throughout life, I have come to realize the difference between the following types of rebuke:
1. The person who hates me.
These people can’t stand me. They simply wants to put me in my place.
2. The person who likes me.
This is usually an acquaintance or maybe even a friend. But they’re quite annoyed by the things I say and do.
3. The person who loves me.
This is typically a good friend or mentor, who can see past my struggles and insecurities. They want to help me become more like Jesus.
Rebuke Begins With Motive
To begin a rebuke, it really starts with motive. The process in which a rebuke takes place, and the words used, will all flow out of our motive behind the rebuke. (Not that I’m a great example…but I’m learning!)
Look Jesus says in Matthew 7:
“‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.’” (Matt. 7:3-5)
It’s clear from Scripture, that rebuking and being rebuked is a part of life. Well, it should be a part of life anyway. Let’s not get so stubborn, anxious, or complacent not to embrace this important principle of our faith.
Join the Conversation, Leave Your Thoughts
What happened the last time you experienced rebuke?