Life's Questions

How do I rebuke a brother or sister in Christ?

Jesus taught His disciples and the people who came to hear Him how important it is to be in a right relationship with others.

Luke 17:3-4 reads:

  • "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him."

To confront another believer first involves recognizing and acknowledging you have been hurt. It involves examining the motives of a person you have interacted with. It is to hear someone with both their words and their actions. Not always do words come out in the way they are intended. Our life experience is all different. What one person says may not be heard as intended. Taking time to reflect upon and affirm you have been hurt is essential.

With love as a foundation rebuking someone for hurting you has the intention of restoring the relationship you have nurtured. Rubuking someone for hurting you is to say in essence "I care that you are part of my life. Your involvement in my life matters to me." Rebuking someone with the intent of causing hurt isn't Christ like.

The traits of love are found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

  • Love is patient
  • Love is kind
  • Love is not jealous
  • Love does not brag
  • Love is not arrogant
  • Love does not act unbecomingly
  • Love does not seek its own
  • Love is not provoked
  • Love does not take into account a wrong suffered
  • Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness
  • Love rejoices with the truth
  • Love bears all things
  • Love believes all things
  • Love hopes all things
  • Love endures all things.

Test your motivation for rebuking someone with this as your standard of measurement. Acting in God's love is being a man or woman of integrity.

Are you someone people may approach and when they have been hurt from you? Do you live humbly before God so if someone needed to confront you they would feel comfortable approaching you? Let the reflection on these questions guide you in how you will present yourself to the person who has hurt you.

  • You may have insight from the Holy Spirit in how to pray for the person.
  • The Lord may grant you wisdom to see the world through the person who hurt you so you are able to understand their motivation.
  • As you reflect on the situation before the Lord your heart may be prepared to offer forgiveness.

Jesus guide to rebuking someone is found Matthew 18:15-18

  • "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in Heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in Heaven."

Breaking this down we are given the steps to:

  • Approach the person who has hurt us in private with the intentions of a renewed relationship.

  • If this hasn't led to restoration involve some witnesses who will be objective in addressing the situation. Words you say may be spoke differently by another person in the hopes of leading to restoration. The involvement of witnesses establishes truth and keeps the real issue in focus. In confronting the person who hurt you the purpose has remained focused on restoration.

  • The Lord then asks us to involve the body of Christ to ask a resource that unity may be restored. This isn't for the purpose of humilitation or to act in pride. It is the heart of God that we may live in unity with other believers that He longs to see restoration.

  • If addressing the real issues of being hurt and desiring restoration with Christ's body mobilized we may take comfort in the Lord that His grace may be our source of comfort. The comfort given by God will remove the sting from being hurt.

Finally reflect on the parable of Jesus found in Matthew 18:21-35 with the motivation for a renewed and restored relationship:

  • Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"

    Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

    For this reason the kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.' And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.

    But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.'

    So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.'

    But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.

    Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?'

    And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.

    My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."

- Scripture quoted is from the NASB translation of the Bible

Prepared By: Ron Piggott

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