Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Can You Take a Rebuke?”
“A rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool.”
Let me start today with a question: How do you personally handle a rebuke that addresses one (or more) of your character flaws? Do you find yourself becoming defensive? Or do you begin to distance yourself from the person(s) who rebuked you? Or are you saying, “Well, it depends…” Or are you thinking to yourself, “When exactly was the last time someone rebuked me?”
There was a sermon video that had gone viral. In it, Pastor Jim from a Baptist church in Oklahoma veers off for about 5 minutes from his sermon, personally rebuking his church members. In it, he states, “You’re the sorriest church members I have – you’re not worth 15 cents,” as he justifies that his comments are motivated by “love.” You might have a less than favorable opinion of the method this pastor took to address some people in his church. However, Solomon observed that a “discerning person” actually took a rebuke to heart. They did not become defensive. They did not become evasive. Rather they listened; and in doing so, they grew in wisdom and maturity.
During his ministry, Jesus rebuked the religious leaders. He rebuked evil spirits. And at times, he also rebuked his disciples. 2 Tim. 3:16 tells us that God’s word is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. For a person who desires spiritual growth, it seems that at times, a rebuke, however gentle or stern, is necessary. Have you been rebuked recently by God’s word? Allow it to make a deep impression in your life. Next time you might feel the sting of a rebuke, take a deep breath and yield to the Spirit of Wisdom to bring the refining process into your life.
Prayer: Lord, honestly, I don’t think I like getting rebuked by anybody. So would You help me in nurturing a teaching heart? Provide godly relationships in my life who would speak truth to me. In Jesus name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 4
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 9:51-55 (NIV): As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.
Questions to Consider
- What made James and John take the perspective of wanting to destroy the Samaritans?
- Do you think James and John were angry on behalf of the Lord or on their own accord?
- What attitude should we have towards people who do not receive the ministry of Jesus?
- In addition to their temperament (“sons of thunder”) and the strong racial hatred that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans, the final straw was being rejected rather than given hospitality by the town’s folks.
- From Jesus’ response, it would seem that Jesus had no anger towards the Samaritans. It concerned Jesus enough to “rebuke” James and John about their request to destroy the village.
- Matt. 5:44 and Romans 12:14 tells us to love, pray, and bless those who oppose us. It is an absolutely difficult position to take. However, let us remember the mercy that God has shown us that we may also be merciful.
Have you been rebuked recently either by someone privately or during a sermon or a Bible study? If so, how did you respond? Spend some time reflecting on the areas in your life that God wants to change.