Rebuke Is Not Attack
He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. Proverbs 15:31, NIV
"Honey, I'm concerned that Robin may have been wounded by your impatience with her as you left for work this morning," Teresa admonished me.
I had certainly been short and irritable as I rushed our daughter out the door that morning, and Teresa pointed it out to me. I didn't like hearing her words. They were painful to hear, but they were true. However, nowhere in Teresa's comments was there a hint of personal attack. Her words contained a gentle, truthful rebuke.
Rebuke must always be distinguished from pressure to perform or manipulation to change. Rebuke always calls attention to a person's behavior, words, or attitude that miss the mark of God's Word. It never contains a personal attack on character. Rebuke is calmly stated and is never said in retaliation or anger. Rebuke always benefits the one who receives it.
Attack comes in many forms, including perfectionism, constant criticism, unreasonable expectations, prideful superiority, endless rules, and social pressure. Rebuke is not about verbal put-downs, sarcasm, temper tantrums, or harsh discipline, and it does not include rejection, silence, or the withholding of love or affection. Rebuke makes use of none of these things, but instead encourages change and ministers acceptance.
Teresa and I have let today's Scripture passage help us determine if our words are truly within the guidelines of loving rebuke. We ask ourselves, "Will my words bring life to the person who hears them?" If the answer is "no:' then we make sure we revisit the motives behind our words.
God wants us to grow in wisdom by receiving rebuke, but He also wants us to bring benefit to the person who hears our rebuke.
What steps will you take to make sure your motivation for "rebuke" is as God would have it?
Heavenly Father, bring across my path loving rebuke.
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