Text: Proverbs 28:23
I. Most of us desire the esteem of those around us. We don’t want people to think bad of us; instead, we want the respect of people.
A. It is that basic desire that Satan exploits - James 1:13-16
B. Behind “pride of life” is the simple desire of wanting to get along with people and enjoy their respect - I John 2:15-17
C. Our words and actions reflect our inclination.
1. We often try to avoid conflict, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing - James 1:19-20
2. But we can take it too far. A contributor to World War II is the attempt to appease Nazi Germany in its aggression – it didn’t work.
3. But you can see it closer to home in parenting. Parents who want to be their child’s friend, so they work at avoiding any conflict and are surprised that they end up with spoiled brats.
D. On the surface, it seems that telling someone they are wrong isn’t the way to gain his respect and admiration - Proverbs 28:23
A. The Hebrew word for “rebuke” is yakhach.
1. It means to be right, to set to right, to show what is right, to decide, judge, reprove or correct.
2. In a legal sense, it means to render judgment
a. Example, Laban accused Jacob of stealing his household idols, but could not show proof - Genesis 31:37
b. Then Jacob announced that God had rendered judgment (rebuked) Laban in a dream that night - Genesis 31:42
3. It can also mean to bring a charge against, as with a lawyer
a. Seen in Job’s complaint - Job 19:5
4. It can be also be people sitting down to decide what is right - Isaiah 1:18
5. Of course, it also means to rebuke or correct.
a. But notice there is always the implication it is toward what is right.
B. It was required as the counter to hatred! - Leviticus 19:17-18
C. Rebuking requires courage and love of your fellow man – enough to overcome the fear of his anger.
1. Think what courage Nathan had to tell the great King David that he was a sinner.
2. We often don’t think about it, but some prophets lost their lives doing such things - II Chronicles 24:17-22
3. Just because they were delivering a message from God, it didn’t mean they were shielded from men’s anger.
D. Rebuking ought to be painful.
1. We should not enjoy the fact that someone is in sin or that we need to correct them - Ecclesiastes 7:5-6
2. “Nothing is more irritating or hardening than to be rebuked by one who evidently enjoys his office. But if the one who points out our fault is evidently deeply pained himself, we must be very obdurate [stubborn] if we are insensible to such an appeal. The wayward child is conquered, not by the rod in his mother’s hand, but by the tears in her eyes.” [E. Hurndall].
3. The example of Paul - II Corinthians 2:4
E. Rebuking cannot be avoided. It is commanded!
1. If someone sins against you, you are required to rebuke him - Luke 17:3
2. You have to tell someone when there is a fault - Matthew 18:15
F. It is not a punishment. It is a call to repentance - II Corinthians 7:8-11
III. Favor afterwards
A. In the long run, rebuke is more likely to bring admiration and respect than displeasure.
1. “We are so prone to self-love, and pride, that the most prudent, and needful, rebukes are apt to create transient displeasure. Yet upon reflection most men will have a better opinion of a faithful reprover, than of a soothing flatterer, and will show him more favor.” [T. Scott]
2. A wise man will love you for it - Proverbs 9:8
3. It is more effective on a wise man - Proverbs 17:10
4. A delight and blessing with come upon the one who rebukes - Proverbs 24:24-25
B. That is why open rebuke is better - Proverbs 27:5
C. Not everyone will be happy about being rebuked. Those who reject the warning have no love for the one who warns
1. Proverbs 9:7-8
2. Proverbs 29:1 - Sudden destruction awaits
IV. Flattery Fails
A. You aren’t helping people by telling them they are right as they are - Proverbs 24:24
B. The failure of flattery is that the flatterer is only thinking of himself - Psalm 12:1-4
C. “He who gives us kisses when he ought to give us reproof, or who holds back deserved rebuke from cowardice, is more cruel than if he withheld from us an indispensable medicine simply because it had a bitter taste. And if a wound is to be probed it is surely better for the patient that it should be done by a skillful and tender hand than by one who has no sympathy with us and no acquaintance with our inner life.” [W. Harris]
D. Don’t take this as saying you never give a complement.
1. Remember that rebukes are correcting toward what is right
2. Thus flattery is praising people in the wrong.
E. A deception - Romans 16:17-18
F. A flatterer is laying a trap - Proverbs 29:5
V. Rebukes work because it leads to an improved change. Are you ready to change?