the rebuke

The other day I was having coffee with a friend.  My friend told me that he was a little taken back by the way that I handled something.  The friend went on to tell me that they wish I hadn’t handled the situation in the way that I did. Reviewing the situation, the friend was absolutely correct.

So I began to wonder why people don’t correct others more often. “Rebuke” is a very harsh sounding Biblical word.  There are two different ways to give a rebuke, one that is redemptive and one that is not.  I know the word sounds bad but the particular form of the word that means, “to give honor” is used 30 times in the New Testament. Many times Biblical words that we read have a ton of meaning.  The words have lost a lot of significance because when they are translated into English.  In English words usually just mean one thing.

I guess the question I have is why doesn’t our culture practice rebuking? Why don’t we rebuke in a way that gives life and restores relationships?  Being upset for years at someone only to forget what you were upset about doesn’t seem very effective.  Maybe all would not have been lost if you would have honored your friend enough to rebuke him or her in a meaningful way. So I guess the question that remains, how do you rebuke someone in a way that shows him or her honor?

I think it is simple.  You let them know how much you value their relationship and how important they are to you.  You let them know why you are hurt, sad, and upset.  Then you let them know that you’d like things to be different from now on.

A good friend will value what is said, acknowledge what they did and ask for forgiveness.

A lot of times only you know your hurt.  The people who are hurting others probably don’t realize it.


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  • Interesting thought Dave. To rebuke seems so harsh, but I loved your spin on it.