Taking a short break from our series in the book of Acts to touch on the subject of Unity among the body. This is part 1 in the series titled “Working for Unity” and focuses on Rebuke.
If you want a study tool to go along with the podcast, see Lift Notes here:
Working for Unity, Part 1: Rebuke
September 16, 2012 by Kasey Crawford
Today’s Passage: Luke 17:3-4 and Colossians 3:12-15
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
-Jesus in Luke 17:3–4
Jesus teaches a rhythm of rebuke, repent and forgive as a regular part of healthy community life together (7 times a day) so that wedges can be removed and authentic unity can be forged so that the power of the Spirit can flow through in and through us most powerfully to bring his Kingdom.
An awesome promise from the Lord “Whoever desires to love life and see good days…let him seek peace and pursue it. 1 Peter 3:10–11
The word pursue carries the notion to “press on” or “strive for with a purpose”. So it will be hard work, but it will be worth it!
When is it time to go work something out between a brother or sister? Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23–24
If it is getting in the way of your worship. If you can’t sit next to them and be at peace and worship then you’ve got something to work out.
How do you rebuke someone?
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14
- A rebuke done correctly is truth that is spoken in love!
- A Rebuke done in love will have compassion. Compassion is a gut wrenching feeling of what they feel.
So in the context of communicating with another person, compassion is where you try to understand things from their perspective before you draw conclusions or make assumptions.
A hugely important phrase to learn how to skillfully use in the context of “rebuking” with compassion is:
“Help me understand where you were coming from when……”
Compassion doesn’t make assumptions about another person but seeks first understanding, while recognizing that each person has a unique upbringing and past, current pressures, personality, gifts and strengths, all of which might be very different than you.
- A Rebuke done in love will have kindness. In this context, kindness is that you really want what is best for them. So in your conflict, you want them to win too. You are not out to just prove you are right!
- A Rebuke done in love will have humility. Humility assumes/expects that “I might be the one off base.” If a word of truth is spoken in humility, it is a word that says “this is my perspective, this is my take, this is how I feel.”
A hugely important phrase to learn how to skillfully use in the context of “rebuking” with humility is: “I feel/felt ________ when _________.” This kind of “I” message is way more productive than the typical accusatory and condemning “you” messages.
“Instead of being suspicious of them, be highly suspicious of your imaginary ability to know what someone is thinking and/or their motives.” -Dann Farrelly
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