I am going to continue on this theme more for those who are just now seeking the truth of God's word and to undo the damage that so many self proclaimed Christians have caused in the lives of believers and non-believers alike. I am also doing this for my own growth and understanding. It is true that God's word is good to be used for correction, rebuking and encouragement. In most cases the only way someone will receive correction, is if that correction is coming from someone they are in close relationship with, someone they trust, someone they respect and honor. Otherwise, if correction comes from someone whom they don't know - well its like a stranger all of sudden stopping you along the way to point out something they feel is wrong in your life... how quick will you listen to them? And if they do it under the guise of "I'm a Christian" and God revealed to me that you are wrong....not only does the one being corrected reject you, but they also reject the One you say you represent, Jesus Christ. How dangerous is this?
How would you feel if you are a parent, and you're at the playground with your kids and lets say your son or daughter calls another kid on the playground a name - but before you could correct them, another parent someone whom you don't know or have ever met comes over to you and says "Hey your kid needs to be punished for that, or worse even, they directly go to your kid and tells them how wrong they are and they should be punished"....How would that make you feel? How many times in life have you had this type of situation. What if that other parent bent your kid over their knee and spanked them? WOW... talk about a law suit, or worse even an all out brawl.
That is the very thing so called Christians do every day. God has not placed us in that position - The goal of correction the goal of rebuking is to help bring people into right relationship with God so that He is glorified not rejected. Not alienated or abandoned. We can only operate in that position in the way God intends, by having a trusting relationship with the one we are correcting or rebuking. And that really only works for believers.
If we try to correct or rebuke someone who is a non-believer, its like trying to apply a rule or law to a foreigner...it simply doesn't work. I mean really people... imagine that you're Muslim (since that seems to be a hot topic these days) and you go around telling all the women they are breaking a commandment by not covering their face... I'd imagine you'd be ignored, laughed at, or mocked... or in a worse case scenario beaten to death.
You cannot apply a rule or a law to someone who feels they are not subject to it, and attempting to do so only causes division.
In order for us to correct or rebuke someone (with the hope that would improve their relationship with God) because thats why its done...then the one being rebuked must #1 believe in God #2 want to do what is right in the eyes of God #3 trust your walk and your life as a Christian. Otherwise you are just blowing hot air and the damage you cause, the division you cause - well consider it innocent blood on your hands.
So many so called Christians go around quoting scripture demanding that everyone is under the same conviction as they are - when in fact, most aren't.
Luke 11:52 says it best: What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don't enter the Kingdom yourselves and you prevent others from entering.
To possess the key of knowledge as noted in the above scripture... is to possess the means to enter the Kingdom, to be taught directly by God. If we remove that key, we are in fact becoming latter day Pharisees.
We should shudder and tremble at fear when we read this. Jesus even says in verse 46: "and you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them."
If your kid does something wrong, not understanding why, do you just punish them, and beat them never explaining to them why what they did is wrong and why they should do something different? Until they reach an understanding of the law, of the rule... then how can you hold them accountable? We are to be stewards of the word. Do you understand what a "steward" is? Lets look it up and see: steward - a representative of... and if we are to be representatives of the Word, aren't we also representatives of Jesus Christ, of God. So if we are constantly finding fault and only focus on the aspects of sin in another's life, what are we really stewards of? Are we also teaching repentance, are we also teaching that when we burden these people down with the condemnation of their wrong doing, something Jesus himself already stated they hardly can carry, i.e understand even... are we also teaching the full gospel of Christ... the redemptive power of Christ, the Love of Christ?
No what I see all around and one of the most destructive devices of the devil, is this use of scripture to cause division among the brethren and it slams shut the gate that leads others to the saving grace and knowledge of God because all they are reminded of are their faults and isn't that exactly what satan does.... he constantly reminds us of how wrong we are, how messed up we are, how we have screwed this or that up - he is constantly accusing day and night. That my friends, is the very thing that should cause you to see.... no matter who someone professes to be, if all you hear and see is a constant "shining of light" into the dark areas of your life, especially from anyone that you are not in close relationship with... then know it is straight from hell. I am sure many would disagree with me and we could toss scripture back and forth, but I know this to be true and see it every single day of my life. It breaks my heart.
But there is one thing you the believer and non-believer alike can do to overcome these types of attacks. Seek Him for yourself... Let God and God alone lead you into all Truth and let Him guide you and teach you - don't subject yourselves to any man or woman, including me - find it all out for yourself. Otherwise, you are setting yourselves up - you are literally walking into a trap there is no escape if you place your faith in men or women.
Should we rebuke and correct one another yes..... but we cannot correct or rebuke someone and expect it to make a difference or lead someone to Christ who doesn't already know Him... nor can we appoint ourselves authority over another - in fact in most biblical cases only the prophets and pastors gave corrections and rebuke. They were in loving relationships, and had that authority and they garnered the respect of their flocks... the key word here is "relationship" again!!!
If someone is trying to correct or rebuke you and they lack an attitude of encouragement, love, mentoring and support - do not listen to them, because their goal is not to help bring you into a right, rewarding and life affirming and giving relationship with Christ. They are in fact doing the exact same thing as the enemy does day and night and that is to accuse and condemn.
As Joshua stands there before Jesus, satan is also there, accusing him. Accusation seems to be the devil's full-time occupation.
When the apostle John was given a vision of the future, he saw that Michael and his angels will throw the devil out of heaven during the Great Tribulation. At that moment, he heard a loud voice in heaven saying,
Rev. 12:10 ...the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.
The devil is constantly accusing us before God - so much so that this becomes one of his official titles: "the accuser of our brethren."
He is pointing out every sin, bringing charges against us. But because Jesus Christ has paid the price for all of our sins, the charges can't stick - the penalties were paid at the cross.
As Paul said, Rom. 8:33-34 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
It is evident that satan spends a lot of time being frustrated when he accuses us of our sin, for it has all been paid for. But he does not give up easily. In fact, he has discovered another - often more effective - way to accuse us.
The book of Job tells us that satan accused Job in front of God, saying,
Job 1:9-12 ..."Does Job fear God for nothing? Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse Thee to Thy face." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.
After this, Job lost everything - his wealth, his flocks, even his children. But instead of blaming God or sinning, Job worshiped. After this, Job 2:3-6 ...the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to ruin him without cause." And Satan answered the LORD and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. However, put forth Thy hand, now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse Thee to Thy face." So the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life."
Notice that satan wasn't accusing Job of sin he had committed. Rather, his accusations were that he would sin under certain circumstances.
Always remember that satan is not just accusing us for what we have done. He is also accusing us of what he thinks we will do under certain difficulties or temptations, should God allow him to attack us.
The devil is up there saying, "If you let me take that man into bankruptcy, he will abandon his Christianity like as a condemned house. If you let me kill that woman's child, she will become bitter and angry with you. She'll drop her faith like a hot potato.
"Paul told the Corinthians that the way to avoid being taken advantage of by satan was not to be ignorant of his schemes (1Cor. 2:11). So, knowing that satan is doing this should equip us for victory.
Begin to look at difficulties not as we normally see them - as "a stroke of bad luck" or "another cruddy day" - but as spiritual tests. Begin to view temptations as a proving ground, rather than something to be defeated by.
You see, trials and temptations are really opportunities to show those in the spiritual realm what we're made of. They become a testimony to God that we have faith in Him and are choosing to walk in victory. They are a testimony against the devil - saying that when he accuses us, he will always be disappointed and proven to be a liar.
Trust no man or woman who seeks to correct or rebuke you if they are not also first telling you about Christ, His great love, and what He accomplished through His death and resurrection so that you might have the power through Him to overcome sin. Correction and rebuke should come from a place of love that is evident, and one that has as its goal to bring you into a greater and more intimate relationship with Christ. Nor give any thought to one who tries to correct you that doesn't also speak of repentance, the need for it and what it accomplishes.
And remember this - The Christian life is not about escaping hell or just overcoming sin, the whole purpose of it all is to have a RELATIONSHIP with our Creator - that is the whole reason He sent His only son to live among us and why He was crucified, why He conquered death, hell and grave and was resurrected...so that through His Holy Spirit He might live within us and through us!!! Being a Christian is not about escaping, but rather entering into a RELATIONSHIP with God, because He loves us!!!