“Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Proverbs 27:5
This is one of the most neglected verses in the Christian faith. I have been rebuked by a friend. It made me mad. It hurt my feelings. But on the other side, I grew so much because of it. I have also lovingly rebuked others. Some have walked away and never spoken to me again. Still others have received it, taken it before the Lord, and allowed the Holy Spirit to do a transforming work in their lives.
Now, grant it, some people take great joy and think they were created for no other reason than to rebuke everyone. That is straight-up a Pharisee! We should take no joy in rebuking another, but rather it be out of the deepest heart of love. In addition, you cannot take withdrawals if there have first been no deposits. You have no right to rebuke someone who you are not invested in. The Scripture says faithful are the wounds of a FRIEND. Until you’ve been a friend, you have not won the privilege to rebuke.
Today’s Scriptures show Jesus openly rebuking the Pharisees. He has tried to be their friend. He has invested over and over again and spoken truth to them, though met with debating and arguing and rejection over and over again. Now, it was time for open rebuke. And can I just say, that we are all so sensitive, easily offended, and fragile emotionally, that I am not sure any of us could take this harsh rebuke! But honestly, a hard rebuke is sometimes the most loving thing needed.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in some very specific areas. Holy Spirit, as we read through these, help us to honestly evaluate our hearts and eliminate these from our lives so that we can be purged and made clean and whole in these areas for Your glory. In the mighty name Jesus, I ask!
Rejection and Prejudice:
“You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”
Creating More Pharisees:
“You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”
Valuing Materialism over the Sacred:
“You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?“
“You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
Elevating Appearance over Heart:
“On the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
“You testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!” “I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.“
WOW!!! What rebuke! And we must take stock of these areas in our own lives. But His rebuke was given with such a depth of love:
“How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
Are we willing to accept His loving rebuke? He longs to hold us close….will we let Him?