"Hope for Todays Problems" focuses on this verse: Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. (Luke 17:3, NASB95)
A considerable amount of sin occurs, and the person sinned against doesnít say a thing. Do you do that? Ann was like that. She wanted so much to get along with her daughter and family. Wendy, her daughter, constantly found fault with her mother. She should not have divorced Dad. (Actually, Dad divorced Mom.) Mom should not date a new man she met. (Yet, on the other hand she would complain that her little brother needed a man to control him). She should be stricter on her brother who was still living at home. (But then she would tell her brother that mom was being unreasonable). She talked and acted in a most unchristian manner, failing to honor her mother as God requires. This went on for years. Offenses piled upon offenses. Mom was constantly
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God Commands You to Rebuke
asking what she had done wrong, trying to obtain peace. When asked why she had not rebuked her daughter for these sins, her response was "I donít want her to be mad at me. I want us to get along.Ē
What tends to happen in cases like this? The daughter becomes more embittered and embedded in her self-righteousness, and the mom becomes more resentful because she can never please her daughter. Both experience a growing anger, hostility, maliciousness, and hatefulness toward each other.
Now here is an interesting question, "Who is responsible for momís anger?"
"Why,Ē you may reply, "the daughter who sinned against her.Ē
You may say that, but you would be wrong if you did. The mom was at fault for her own frustration and anger.
"How do you figure that?Ē you reply.
It is because God commanded Mom to rebuke her daughter, when her daughter sinned against her. If she does not do so, she is disobeying Godís Word, and suffering the sinful
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consequences of such disobedience. Now, we have two people who are sinning, both the daughter and the mother, and both are suffering because of it.
You see it is Godís plan to deal with the daughterís sin through the motherís response, and to restore the daughter to the warmth of Godís love and the familiesí as well. But Mom did not rebuke her. Why?
"I didnít want to make the matter worse. I didnít want to get in a fight with her.Ē
Letís analyze that answer. The bottom line is she did not want to make matters worse for herself. She didnít want the hassle in her life, the frustration, and the arguments that might have resulted if she rebuked her. And she certainly didnít want to lose access to her grandchildren. Therefore, she backed off and brooded over the offenses, instead. Her daughter never received the God-ordained rebuke that He intended to be a tool in the daughterís sanctification. The mother sinned against the daughter in being more concerned about herself and her potential problems than about the daughterís spiritual condition.
She missed one very important point. God was not directing his command toward what would make Momís life convenient and hassle free. He directed His command to Mom that she might begin to fulfill the servantís role of confronting and restoring her daughter in her faith.
In other words, her actions were self-serving and selfish. What she should have done was selflessly consider the godless actions of this daughter and Christian sister, and what would be needed to bring her to repentance and back into fellowship with God and Mom. Instead she considered herself. Paul sums up her neglected responsibility this way, ď...in humility consider others better than yourselfĒ (Philippians 2:3, NIV).
This is not an uncommon scenario. So many Christians do things very similar to this. They make excuses about why they will not rebuke. But no excuses are allowed.