Illustration results for Rebuking
Criticism is always difficult to accept, but if we receive it with humility and a desire to improve our character it can be very helpful. Only a fool does not profit when he is rebuked for his mistakes.
Several years ago I read a helpful article on this subject. It stated that when we are criticized we ought to ask ourselves whether the criticism contains any truth. If it does, we should learn form it, even when it is not given with the right motivation and in the right spirit. The article then offered these four suggestions: (1) Commit the matter instantly to God, asking Him to remove all resentment or countercriticism on your part and teach you the needed lessons. (2) Remember that we are all great sinners and that the one who has criticized us does not begin to know the worst about us. (3) If you have made a mistake or committed a sin, humbly and frankly confess it to God and to anyone you may have injured. (4) Be willing to learn afresh that you are not infallible and that you need God’s grace and wisdom every moment of the day to keep on the straight path.
When we are criticized, let’s accept what is true and act upon it, thereby becoming a stronger person. He who profits from rebuke is wise. H.G.B.
A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in our family. Mom taught me to love the Word of God. Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spellbound for hours each evening.
He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies, and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars. The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn’t seem to mind but sometimes Mom would quietly get up—while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places—and go to her room and read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave. My Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt an obligation to honor them.
Profanity was not allowed in our house—not from us, our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four-letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge, the stranger was never confronted. Dad didn’t permit alcohol in his home. But the stranger enlightened us to other ways of life. He often offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages. He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished.
He talked freely about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man/woman relationship were influenced by the stranger.
I believe it was only by the grace of God the stranger did not influence us even more. Time after time he opposed my parents’ values. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave. More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive.
But if I were to walk into my parents’ home today, I would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name? We always called him TV.
A number of years ago, Dr. Waltke, a seminary professor, & three pastors, one of which was Charles Swindol toured the mother church of the First Church of Christ Scientist in downtown Boston. The four were unknown to the elderly lady who was going to give them a tour. They didn’t tell her who they were, at least not at first. She showed them several interesting things on the main floor. When they got to the pipe organ she began to talk about their doctrine & especially their belief about no judgment in the life beyond. Dr. Waltke waited for just the right moment & then very casually asked: "But, Ma’am, doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible, ’It is appointed unto man once to die & after that, the judgment?" The scholar could have quoted Hebrews 9:27 in the Greek, but he was so gracious & tactful. Swindol confessed he was thinking, "Go for it Bruce. Now we’ve got her where we want her!" Without a pause, the lady simply ask, "Would you like to see the second floor?" Dr. Waltke said, "We surely would, thank you." She smiled, somewhat relieved, & started to lead the men up a flight of stairs. Swindol recalled he couldn’t believe it. He was thinking, "No, don’t let her get away. Make her answer your question!" He pulled on the scholar’s arm & said in a low voice, "Hey, why didn’t you nail the lady? Why didn’t you press the point & not let her get away until she answered?" Swindol said he replied, "But, Chuck, that wouldn’t have been fair. That wouldn’t have been very loving, either- now would it?" Swindol said, "Wham, the quiet rebuke left me reeling. I shall never forget that moment. And to complete the story, you’ll be interested to know that in less than 20 minutes he was sitting with the woman alone, gently speaking to her about the Lord Jesus Christ. She sat in rapt attention. He, the gracious servant, had won a hearing by being kind.
During the time of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Greg Livingstone was asked to give a "missions minute" at a large evangelical church on the East Coast. Since he had only one minute to speak, he decided to ask them only two questions. The first one was, "How many of you are praying for the 52 Americans hostages being held in Iran?" 4000 hands went straight up and he said, "Praise the Lord! Now, put your hands down and let me ask you another question…How many of you are praying for the 42 million Iranians being held hostage to Islam?" four hands went up. He said, "What are you guys? Americans first and Christians second? I thought this was a Bible-believing church!"
This rebuke to the church by Linvingstone served as a wake up call and helped mission-minded Christians see the need for prayer for Muslims. This mission minute was used in a dramatic way to lead to what has been called by mission experts as "the ’...
Sermon Central Staff
It’s said that when Henry Ward Beecher was a boy, he had a teacher at school who asked one of the boys in class a question which the boy answered. The teacher became angry and told the boy he was wrong and commanded him to: "Sit down!" The boy was obviously confused because he’d thought he’d answered correctly, but he sat abruptly down.
Several boys were asked the same question, they gave the same answer and promptly rebuked by their teacher. Finally Beecher was asked to stand and answer the question. He gave the same answer and was commanded "Sit down!" But Beecher held his ground and insisted that the answer was correct.
For a few moments the teacher stormed at him, but seeing Beecher wasn’t going to give up he smiled and said,
"Well, boys, you were all correct, but Beecher was the only one sure enough to stand up for it.”
Many people have lost their faith in Christ because they simply lacked the courage to stand up for what they believed. They had grown so used to apologizing for their faith that once someone mounted a serious challenge to that faith they just gave up and sat down.
(From a sermon by Jeff Strite, Confession Is Good For the Soul, 10/24/2010)
“Staring Down the Critic’s Barrel!” Proverbs 9: 7-10 Key verse(s): 8b:“. . . rebuke a wise man and he will love you.”
The Bible tells us that “rebuke a wise man and he will love you.” Love? What happened to getting the emotional revenge that is so satisfying? There doesn’t seem to be a lot of room in that statement for pride, is there? In fact, being made to look the dummy seems like an invitation to wisdom. That’s something that doesn’t square real well with the world or our own self-esteem. It almost sounds like it would be better to be meek and withdrawing when others criticize us. In fact, if you are one of those people who are not “quick on the trigger” when others start shooting criticism your way, are you blessed? Perhaps. While it is never good to respond to anyone when we don’t have full command of our senses, it doesn’t mean that we should empty ourselves out completely and allow that criticism to fill us up to overflowing. There is a process of assimilation that can help.
Several years ago I read a helpful article on the subject of receiving and benefitting from criticism. If you can keep this process in mind even when bitter criticism is being leveled at you, you may find it easier to bear up and certainly less recriminating when you consider the criticism down the road. It stated that when we are criticized we ought to ask ourselves whether the criticism contains any truth. If it does, we should learn from it, even when it is not given with the right motivation and in the right spirit. The article then offered these four suggestions: (1) Commit the matter instantly to God, asking Him to remove all resentment or counter-criticism on your part and teach you the needed lessons. (2) Remember that we are all great sinners and that the one who has criticized us does not begin to know the worst about us. (3) If you have made a mistake or committed a sin, humbly and frankly confess it to God and to anyone you may have injured. (4) Be willing to learn afresh that you are not infallible and that you need God’s grace and wisdom every moment of the day to keep on the straight path.
When we are criticized, it’s good to accept what is true and act upon it, thereby becoming a stronger person. And, as the proverb says, “instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still.” Isn’t that every Christian’s goal? Give me more of that wisdom and if criticism is one of the best ways of getting more of it, “bring it on!” I remember a worship dialog from Don Moen’s “God With Us!” that has stuck with me over the years. “Your strength is made strong in our weakness.” When you think of it, there is no weaker state than that of receiving criticism. Is there ever a time when we need to rely on our God more? Being on the receiving end of criticism opens us completely to the devil’s wiles. It is an open door to sin just waiting for the evil to enter. What better time to invite the Holy Spirit in than when we are vulnerable to criticism. The key to being receptive to other people’s criticism is who we are willing to invite in at the first moment when the words begin to sting. We can choose to “commit the matter” to God or “commit” it to Satan. The choice is ours. When staring down the critic’s barrel expect the infusion of the Spirit not the bullet of sin and you may find that the criticism doesn’t sting so much after all.
Which Way, O Lord?
"This is what the Lord says; 'Stand at the crossroads and look... ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.'" Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV)
The way many people attempt to determine the will of God would make a great new television series entitled, "That's Unbelievable!"
A woman with a lifetime dream of going to the Holy Land was trying to determine the will of God on this matter. Before going to bed one night, she read the tour pamphlet and noticed in the plans that they would be traveling on a 747 jet. She tossed back and forth that night and laid awake for hours wondering what God would have her do. Rolling over in the morning, she noticed that her beside clock read 7:47. Her answer! She became convinced that this was God's answer to her and it was His will for her to make that trip. "That's Unbelievable!"
You cannot readily determine the will of God for your life outside of having your heart opened through prayer, the study of God's Word and obedience to it. And, if you are outside the will of God, you will find yourself without peace in your life.
When the prophet Jeremiah spoke the words quoted above, Jerusalem was being threatened with total destruction. Like today, the warning signs were all around the people. God in His great love was sounding the danger alarm so that they would turn from their wicked ways and be saved. But in Jeremiah 6: 10, we read that "The word of the Lord [was] offensive to them; they [found] no pleasure in it." So, the siege works were being built outside their walls and utter ruin lay ahead.
Has the Word of the Lord been offensive to you? Do you find no pleasure in it? Are you suffering from the devastating effects of your own bad choices, divorce or sexual sin? Are your hopes and dreams dead? Perhaps you are bound up by addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling or pornography and can't break away. Are financial pressures, wayward children or broken relationships weighing heavily on your soul? Is your life under siege? Are you standing at the crossroads today? The Lord is saying to you "Look... ask where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest for your soul."
Where is the "good way" to be found? The prophet Isaiah tells us to "Seek ye out the book of the Lord." The apostle Paul teaches that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness."
If there is not a joy in your heart when you read the Word of God or there is no draw to read the Bible at all, then you have not found the Christ of the Bible or you're simply not walking in obedience to God's Son. For He is the Word made flesh. (John 1: 14) You are not truly asking "Which way, O Lord?" You are telling Him how you are going to live and demanding that He bless it. That is the sin which keeps you from living the abundant life promised in Christ.
If you are seeking peace in your life and rest for your soul today, you are standing at the CrossRoads...and all signs are pointing to Jesus!
Illus.: “I Can’t Change Jesus”
Bill Irwin, a man who is blind, has a talking computer he uses to study the Bible. He’s had a few chuckles over some of the pronunciations. "For a long time," Bill says, "the computer pronounced Holy Bible as ’holly bibble’ until I figured out how to modify it." But there was one thing Bill couldn’t change. The computer uses the Spanish pronunciation for Jesus Christ--HEYsus Krist. "The programmer is Hispanic," Bill told me with a smile, "and he made sure that HEYsus Krist cannot be altered."
I like that. It reminds me that among the things in life that can be changed to suit my taste, one remains tamper-resistant--I can’t change Jesus.
When life is unsettled, I gain great comfort from the Bible’s affirmation that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8). But the statement is also a stern rebuke to my tendency to try to modify t...
Let me give you another example of how God is on the move.
Haiti is a state that made a pact with the devil three hundred years. It is renown as a centre of witchcraft, voodoo and satanic worship. In 1991 Christians went to the most traditional satanic voodoo field in Haiti and were "violent in the Spirit, praying, rebuking, fighting and casting out spirits" ...until they felt the power of the devil had been lifted.
When the voodoo priests came several days later to attempt their rituals, they were unable to evoke the demonic spirits. And they went off to complain to Government Officials and the news media.
The Christians defended their position with the Government, and the Government declared it their legitimate legal right to hold Christian meetings at the site and in all historic sites in Haiti.
THE APOSTLE JOHN
Here are some of the things we know about John, John was one of the apostles. In fact he was the youngest apostle. His brother was the apostle James who is beheaded in Acts 12. He is the only apostle to not be martyred for his faith. And he walked in the inner circle of Jesus.
We was with Jesus for three years while Jesus was doing his ministry. He has seen the miracles, he has heard the teaching, and he has had his life transformed. John and his brother James were given the nickname the 'sons of thunder' because of their zeal and passion. John during the course of his time with Jesus had seen and done many things, but some of the ones that stand out are these: He asked Jesus to call down fire from heaven to consume an inhospitable Samaritan village (Luke 9:54) he rebuked an exorcist for casting out demons because he was not an apostle (Luke 9:49), and he asked to sit at the right hand of Jesus in heaven (Matthew 20:21).
John was not a timid, nor shy man by any means. Yet through the ministry with Jesus, after the resurrection something in John changed. He went from wanted to sit at the seat of honor in the kingdom of heaven, to recording a gospel where he does even mention himself by name. John’s life was turned completely around by Jesus. And when he writes this gospel, he writes as a changed man who desires only one thing, for everyone to come to a true and meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ the Lord.