Rebuke. Reproof. Correction. Instruction. Do these words make you uncomfortable? Do they cause your stomach to churn like butter? Do they flush your face with heat? Does your heart start racing? Perhaps the words themselves don’t make you cower, but what goes on inside of you when YOU are the target of these words? Have you ever stopped and examined why? Why you get uncomfortable when you are rebuked? Why you get an attitude? You know, your jaw is clinched, your neck is stiff, and you have no answers because your mind is trying to block out everything that is being said. C’mon, be honest. We have all had these reactions. But where are these reactions in the Bible? Where does Jesus say, “When you’re rebuked, coil up like a snake and be ready to strike next time something is said to you?” Or “When I give you instructions, be defensive about why you can’t do what I’m telling you to do?” How about “When you are corrected, attack the one who is giving the correction by accusing and reminding them of all the things they have done wrong so you don’t have to look at your error?” 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us to “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith: prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” This examination is taking the word of God and the activity (“faithing”) of one’s life and comparing to see if they are the same. Our reactions to rebukes, instructions, corrections, reproofs, as briefly mentioned above, do not equal the character of God as found in His word. So let’s begin to examine. What do the scriptures say about Rebuke? Reproof? Instruction? Correction?
Job 5:17 & 18 says, “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty. For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth and his hands make whole.” Wow. The Bible says that a man whom God corrects is HAPPY? Not happy as in the English happy-go-lucky-free-of-difficulty “happy” but happy as in the Hebrew meaning. The word “happy” in Job 5:17 is the same word that is used for “blessed” in Psalm 1:1. It comes from the root word ashar, meaning “to go straight, walk, go on, advance, make progress.” When God corrects man, man’s path is made straight. He is able to walk, to continue on. He enters into advancement, he makes progress. Ecclesiastes 7:13 tells us to “consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?” In Isaiah 42:16 God also says “…I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not: I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” Are you connecting the revelation here? Man’s ways are crooked yet when God CORRECTS him, his ways are made straight. Man makes progress and ADVANCES when God corrects. Is this not what we cry out to God for when we’re desperate for change? We say “GOD! I want to move forward! I want to mature! I don’t want to be in this place of misery anymore! I have sinned. I have gone the wrong way. Set me straight! I want to walk with you!” We’re weeping and lamenting with all that we are on our beds, in the woods, or wherever we choose until our body aches and we cannot utter another syllable. We console ourselves to continue and wait for God to answer our prayer because we poured our heart out. We go to bed, we wake up, and time passes. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a man or woman of God looks at us square in the eye and exposes sin in our lives and tells us to repent. Immediately anger is boiling within like Old Faithful and we start firing back excuses, accusations, and all sorts of evil because we’re being exposed! Do you see??? THIS is the work of God in our lives: to be corrected! He’s answering our deepest, most passionate desire: He’s setting us straight, enabling us to advance. And YET, through it all, we accuse His obedient servant of doing evil towards us and convince ourselves that He refuses to answer our prayer! Can you see the absurdity this is? His work is to straighten us out because our ways are crooked. That work is accomplished in our lives through God’s correcting love and we REFUSE His work in our lives. Something has to change! What has to change? Our false, crooked, viewpoint of rebuke and correction has to change!
1 Corinthians 2:16 says “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” The scriptures tell us we have the mind of Christ. But that mind is formed in us THROUGH instruction. Remember this, the next time you are rebuked, instructed, corrected and given reproofs.