Journal Entry // October 10, 2022
This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, (ESV)Titus 1:13
How do I handle a rebuke from a fellow believer that is seeking to correct an obvious error in my life? Does this answer change if the rebuke is sharp? I’m afraid the answer is the same for both questions. I don’t seem to handle a rebuke very well at all. My initial reaction is typically and reflexively defensive. I want to justify or excuse away my actions. I want to explain why my situation is not the same as everyone else’s situation. No, I do not handle a rebuke, sharp or not, from anyone very well. This is unfortunate as this is necessary for my spiritual growth and health. How am I to better see and understand my errors if they are not pointed out to me? It is easy for me to turn a blind eye to sin in my life. To just brush it away with a lot of nonsense that makes me feel better about why my situation is unique and God understands or even condones my actions. No, I need those sharp rebukes. I need a good friend and companion to help me see the error of my way. I need people in my life who care enough to help me stay on the straight and true path of the Lord.
I look back over the recent past and I can remember moments in time when friends had asked me hard questions. Questions that pricked my heart and my conscious. Questions that made me uncomfortable. My reaction to these questions was always the same, typically. I was embarrassed, so I tried to cover it or smooth it over as I downplayed the grip that sin had on my heart. I brushed that feeling of guilt and shame aside and convinced myself that everything was alright and that I had it all under control. Yet, I didn’t.
Over time, my heart became broken and I came before the Lord in desperation. Calling out for him to heal me and bring freedom. This he did. He brought about my freedom and healing through the removal of anything and everything that was hindering my walk with Christ. Unfortunately, this was a lot of things. Everything I was putting my hope in that was not Christ. Even now I am still uncovering new areas that need to be given over to Christ through repentance. He has taught me to pray daily for humility and this is what I desperately need. I need a complete work of humility in my heart. Just when I think I have plumbed the depths of humility, the Lord takes me lower still. I pray that he keeps bringing me lower and lower.
Hearing a rebuke is difficult. Admitting that I need the rebuke is near impossible but with my God all things are possible. Even the turning of this self-righteous heart back to Jesus. Lord, bring me closer still to Jesus. Give me ears to hear and eyes to see the depth of sin in my heart and mind. Bring faithful friends and believers into my life who will speak hard truths to me. Give me the humility to listen and turn. To admit my failure and embrace Jesus. Allow me the wisdom to receive the mercy and grace that Jesus offers each and every moment to me.