Last week we studied how to give rebuke. So this week I thought it best to study how to receive it…
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1
“Stupid?” I didn’t even know that word existed in the Bible! Yet, here it is, light as day! Why would God use such a strong word? You see, God wants us to understand there’s ignorance in not receiving rebuke. He even tells us that those who love knowledge, love the discipline that goes with gaining that knowledge. The Scriptures are making a strong point here and I don’t want you to miss it, and that is that correction is meant to be life giving, not life altering.
So how exactly do we receive rebuke when we get it? First and foremost we should receive it with all HOPE. As Carole Mayhall states…
H – Humble
O – With an Open heart
P – Prayerfully
E – Endure
Receiving it Humbly….
First we must be respectful and listen carefully when someone is rebuking us. We need to understand why they are saying what they are saying and welcome any critical input. Don’t be on the defense or get offended, because that is a bait Satan uses to get you not to listen to the rebuke being given. So listen up, humbly.
Receive it with an Open Heart….
Next we must be willing to accept the possibility that the person who has come to us just might be right (and that’s not to say everyone who comes to you is correct, there are times they are not, but we’ll get into that later). In addition, don’t expect people to correct you in a godly manner. Most people do not know how to do this, including many believers.
Take a surgeon for example. If he performs a surgery but fails to do it skillfully, it will still benefit the patient in the long run. So to it is with receiving rebuke. It’s not always done to our ‘standards,’ but it will benefit us in the long run. Don’t focus on how things were said, but rather on the truthfulness of what was said, and recognize that you do not see yourself as others see you.
Receive it Prayerfully (Seek God’s council)…
Not all rebukes are from the Lord. This is why prayer and council with God are so important. Take the problem before the Lord, and seek to find out if that person truly has, “Hit the Nail on the Head!”or “Struck the Bulls eye!”… you get the picture.
Endure the Result…
If you find the person was correct, then humbly and frankly confess your sin to God and to anyone you have injured or hurt in the process. On the other hand, if the rebuke is not true you may want to discuss it with that person, OR forgive and forget without responding! Remember God is our defense.
When receiving correction we have two ways in which we can view it. We can either, view it as a curse or view it as a blessing…
Viewing it as a Curse….
When we receive rebuke it is our nature to protect the idol of ‘self.’ So what do we do? We automatically get on the defense and start throwing up our walls. We begin this emotional roller-coaster ride, “Who are you to tell me what to do! I could point out about 50 of your faults. Look at the plank in your own eye! Do they not realize I’m older, smarter, and more knowledgeable! They’ve never been in my position. Surly they haven’t been a believer as long as I. I’m more spiritual then they! What do they know…..” We get offended, start justifying our actions, judge others, get angry, call friends and discuss the matter, respond with revenge, make the other person look bad so we aren’t so bad ourselves, or develop a ‘poor me’ attitude and go into seclusion. Responding with attacks such as these, show where our hearts truly lies. And by the way, these are NOT characteristics of walking in the Spirit. But rather characteristics of protecting “Self,” and walking according to the flesh. The trouble with us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by rebuke.
“He who is on the path of life heeds instruction, but he who ignores reproof goes astray.” Proverbs 10:17
Sometimes God uses even the unlikeliest of people to reprove us. Remember he once used a donkey to gain the attention of a man. God can use, anyone or anything. He’s God!
Viewing it as a Cure…
When our sin is exposed we should have the attitude of confessing and repenting. Not only a mental change, but also an actual obedient receiving of the rebuke.
“Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.” Proverbs 9:8
If you truly despise sin you will be glad to have it out of your life, instead of being offended and in despair that it has been revealed. Rebuke reveals areas of sin and removes them from your life, and my friends, that is a good thing! The wise, view rebuke as growth and knowledge, because they despise the sin. The prudent, on the other hand, view it as an attack and become offended.
So how do you respond to correction? Do you pursue correction or merely tolerate it? Are you easy to correct or do other people hesitate to correct you? Are you open to the observations of others? Or are there areas in your life where you are not open to input?
God wants to grow you in maturity, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. So don’t allow yourself to be ruined by flattering lips of praise, rather be saved by rebuke.
“Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it…” Psalm 141:5
Love you all!