When someone repeats their past mistakes and hurts us again and again, our tendency is to no longer forgive them – because we listen to the voice that tells us we must protect ourselves from them.
So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”
Luke 17:3-4 NLT
We are to be a voice of encouragement and accountability into the lives of other believers. If we choose to stop being that voice in their lives because we have grown weary, either from the repeated pain or from the hopeless feeling that they refuse to change, then we are choosing the path of last resistance, the broad path that is easy and is chosen by many.
That path offers less testing and proving through the faith that refines us. In fact, the resulting lack of exercise and testing of out hearts results in the love of many waxing cold. It is not healthy, in fact, it is quite dangerous for us to turn to the cold, exacting, judgemental nature of a legalistic and religious person who measures and judges people and offers sacrifices at their altar of religion, but who produces no love in their life and in the lives of others. Yes, Jesus tells us to even love our enemies, so we do not have the excuse of someone being our enemy to release us from the obligation of loving and forgiving them.
And fellow believers need accountability, they need a gentle rebuke when gentleness is called for, and they need a more clear and direct rebuke when their rebellion puts them in the path of death – but it must always be done from the stance of love, with the intent of encouraging them towards repentance, and the hope of seeing them restored.
Even though there are many unfaithful who would claim the name of Jesus Christ today falsely, by cling to the promise of grace and forgiveness while ignoring repentance and following Christ – that doesn’t mean that we are to be silent and let them continue blindly into the darkness. The same ones who respond, “You can’t judge me. You aren’t perfect either.” As they cling boldly to their sin with no fear of God whatsoever are the blind that need the healing touch of the truth. And that is exactly what a rebuke is – it is speaking truth into the life of someone who is confused, misled, lost, and struggling – it is done in love to provide assistance and guidance in hopes they will step back onto the narrow path.
But broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many will refuse to follow the path with their actions even though they will try to claim Him with their words. But it is our hearts that are weighed, my friends.
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.
Matthew 7:21 NLT
‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
Matthew 15:8 NLT
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart. The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices.
Proverbs 21:2-3 NLT
Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Matthew 9:13 NLT
Show mercy, friends – for that is where Christ is found, that is where His love is demonstrated, and that is how your life can be used as a vessel of His glorious grace.
Find mercy and love for those who persecute you and you will soar like on the wings of eagles where their actions can no longer touch or harm you in the places that matter. For we are temporary residents of this foreign land, and we return to our home eternal soon enough. What can mere men take from us that we are not willing to give in exchange for our eternal life with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior?
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.
Matthew 16:24-27 NLT
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Isaiah 41:10 ESV
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
2 thoughts on “Judge? No. Rebuke? Yes. Forgive? ALWAYS!”
I had an extraordinary conversation last night with someone I have never met. A scammer from India called, trying to tell me that my internet was causing problems. Recently my friend had had her computer hacked by one of these people, so I knew what he was up to. Instead of hanging up on him, I said, “I need to tell you that liars are going to go to hell,” adding that he can only find forgiveness through Jesus. I said that I had also been a liar but I had come to Jesus for forgiveness. I thought he would end the call, but imagine my surprise when he said “Ma’am, I’m crying. I’m crying. I believe in Jesus.” It turned out that he was a Christian. He told me that he was going to leave that job and that this would be his last phone call. Praise God! I felt amazed and awed that God used me to help rescue one of his lost sheep. 🙂
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Yes, He tells us that when we are faithful in the small things, He can trust us in the greater things. It isn’t easy to step out into the deeper waters. It isn’t easy to gently correct that Christian that you love and respect when you see them in sin or see them speaking in error. It isn’t easy when we see a brother or sister in pain and have no magic words to make it better but we can cry together and pray together. But those are the fiery trials, the opportunities to bear fruit, the chance to see His very hand upon our life refining us into gold, removing the dross, and using us for His purpose, and proving Himself faithful and true. Thank you so much for your testimony friend.
I have had the same thing happen several times, but in my case it has been these Webcam girls that want men to pay them to get nude. I use their initial text messages as an opportunity to start a conversation with them and to open the door into telling them that Jesus loves them and has a purpose in store for their lives. Every person we come into contact with is an opportunity to spend yet a little more time talking about Christ and learning and growing and encouraging one another. Praise God for what He is doing in your life. And thank you for being faithful.