This summer we are taking 10 weeks to read together David Mathis' book Habits of Grace. Each week different people will post their thoughts and reflections following our reading schedule. This week Eden Song shares his reflections on Chapter 18. You can download a PDF of the 10-week reading schedule here.
In Chapter 18 of Habits of Grace, David Mathis explains how rebuking, when done properly, is an act of love that could prevent someone from continuing in a destructive path.
If we were all mature, super-holy Christians, rebuke would probably not be necessary. We would all confess our sins to one another rather than persisting in them. However, as long as we are in this world tainted by sin and our bodies waiting for redemption, we will have blind spots (sometimes serious ones) which would need to be brought to our attention by fellow Christians. In this sense, the habit of loving rebuke is a gift to the church where our sins are exposed, and where we invite others to help us in our journey of repentance and healing.
Mathis points out a few practical tips in how we are to rebuke our brothers and sisters:
1. First check your own heart.
2. Seek to sympathize.
3. Pray for restoration.
4. Be quick.
5. Be kind.
6. Be specific.
7. Follow up.
When I was a junior in college, one of my professors challenged the class to a three-day media fast. So I did. As an arrogant college kid, I didn’t understand my professor’s point and wrote a reflection paper on how useless the media fast was.
After a few days, I got my paper back, and the professor had written on it:
“Reflect on your pride… Come talk to me.”
Those words stunned me. I did not expect the professor would confront my pride like that! In the next few days, the phrase “reflect on your pride” echoed throughout my head as I walked to classes, ate meals in the dining hall, and did my homework.
What the professor said about me was true, and I was forced to face my problem and deal with it. When I finally went to talk to the professor in her office, she showed me so much grace and love. I knew she rebuked me not out of self-righteousness, but out of kindness and concern.
Though I am far from being humble, my professor’s rebuke initiated a change in me that I still carry to this day. No one likes to be told what we are doing is wrong. But I pray we will have the humility to listen to the rebuke of others, and also rebuke others lovingly when the Holy Spirit prompts us to.
Follower of Jesus. A native of South Korea. Proud husband and dad. Student at Fuller Seminary.