I just read a verse in Proverbs again for the first time:
“Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool.” (Proverbs 17:10)
Don’t worry, I’m not going soft on anyone (wink). Seriously though, I am trying to use wisdom in what I am doing with Aletheia Group LLC and taking to heart Jesus’ admonition:
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” (Matthew 10:16-20)
One of the great pieces of wisdom my pastor shared with me on Monday night was most times we need to use the more excellent way of questioning things in the way that people come to their own discovery of aletheia truth and Biblical principle. He said there are cases where a situation has become crystallized and then you have to take a big hammer to it and shatter it into a thousand pieces and start over. The trick for me will be determining what is crystallized, because as you already know, I instinctively reach for the hammer.
One of the most difficult lessons to learn as a Christian is the value of reproof. Solomon further said:
“Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.” (Proverbs 25:10)
The trick is finding a wise rebuker; a person who will give you sound counsel, good news or bad. My pastor says when he picks his councilmen he chooses men who love the Lord and are obedient to His Word. When my pastor discovers such men, he picks among them those that love him. And loving him includes bringing godly counsel in the form of rebuke if necessary.
I have to be careful not to surround myself with only counselors who will sing my praises and always agree with my opinions just to stay on my good side for whatever selfish reason they may have. That is nothing more than a sycophant. Solomon also warns against that:
“It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:5)
If I receive a rebuke from someone I love and respect and I know that he or she feels the same way about me, I always try to remember to stop and take a step back and look at the situation. In this there is usually a teachable moment for me, not just for my head but for my heart. Matthew Henry puts it this way:
A gentle reproof will enter, not only into the head, but into the heart of a wise man.
Perhaps the reproof did not come in the most excellent way or even in a harsh manner. It is important to remember the heart of the messenger because if you know they love and respect you, then even though the delivery may need improvement, the message is a needed one. I don’t want someone who loves me to hold back just because I might get upset or my feelings hurt. Again to Solomon:
“Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.” (Proverbs 27:5)
Not all things that are good for us are always pleasant. Often we need a gentle reproof. We should never despise the discipline of God; it is a sign of His great love for us:
“And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:5-11)
“Dear Lord Jesus, I hesitate even now to pray this prayer because my flesh does not enjoy enduring your refining by my spirit and soul long for your holiness. I so often sit in my filthy rags of righteousness imagining myself as I see myself instead of looking at me through Your eyes and Your Word. Purify me Jesus, bring the refiner’s fire and remove the dross from my wicked heart so that I can love as You love that my heart may be one with You. In your name I pray.”
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers