The importance of being rebuked

The importance of being rebuked

No-one likes to be told that what they are doing is wrong. Most of us actively flee from conversations like this, whether we need to do the telling or we need to be told. We’d like to believe that whatever we are doing, whatever lifestyle choices we have made, they are fine.

The problem is that the Bible teaches that all of us, without exception, are sinful. This means that we are people who make bad decisions, who speak without thinking, who think things that we wish others would never find out about, and who want things that are selfish. In many ways, large and small, we are broken and imperfect.

There are many different examples of people being rebuked for their words and actions in the Bible. The Old Testament prophets often were told to rebuke a king or the people for their behaviour and attitudes. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees of his time for following man-made traditions and not recognising the true Messiah. Paul rebuked Peter when his actions were not in line with the principles he taught.

In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul told Timothy his young protégé that all Scripture was useful for a range of things, including rebuking and correcting. In other words, we should all expect that as we are exposed to the Bible in personal Bible reading, Bible studies or sermons, we should expect to be rebuked by what we read or hear frequently. The Holy Spirit will often use the Bible to point out our sin to us and call us to repent and follow God with all our heart, soul and mind.

Last Sunday, I preached a sermon from Ecclesiastes 5 that was harsh because the passage was harsh. There were calls there to take worship and prayer seriously and to keep our promises. It didn’t take much application to show everyone, including myself, that we are poor at these things a lot of the time. We often do not reflect on and apply what we learn from the Bible; we often do not listen well. We make promises easily but also forget easily. The passage, if we listen well, should hurt a little. Rebukes are necessary but not pleasant.

Have you been rebuked by the Bible lately? When you read or hear something uncomfortable, something challenging, something requiring some change in your life, do you shrug it off? Move on to happier parts? Or pray, reflect, and make real solid changes?

God is kind enough to correct us when we are heading the right way. Let’s listen.