Tag Archive: rebuke

i am continuing this series which i feel has gone so much further than the initial email that got it started and has provided some valuable insights which needed a springboard to launch from. so am daily becoming more grateful for it as it has helped me share what i feel have been some helpful ideas about living life to the full.

what i am wanting to look at today is something that i have found immensely helpful in my relationship with tbV [altho still definitely have a long way to go] and in some of the conflicts i have been involved in in recent times [who, me argue?] and i imagine that the more i get this right, the more effective i am going to be in terms of challenge and even rebuke…

the concept is very simple: receive the rebuke/challenge/word of wisdom you are about to give… so using the email i received, let me for a moment assume that i had written it – i am ready to send it, but before i do, let me put myself in the place of the person hearing it and see what they receive…


Brett, let’s be honest: your youtube videos suck. Big time. And I don’t even see the purpose in it.

hm, okay if i am receiving that particular sentence, is it going to make me open to hearing the message, or is it likely to make me angry or sad or antagonistic and make me react rather than respond to the heart of what i was trying to say?

i think it becomes quite easy once you make the time and effort to do that. that line is an easy one but sometimes we do need to deliver tough Truth to people we Love and it is not going to be an easy one to hear. by becoming that person hearing the message i will more than likely find a better way to deliver the message.

how would i receive a message that my videos are a waste of time? the word ‘suck’ followed by ‘big time’ is probably not going to be the best way, right? and as i mentioned yesterday, by changing a strong statement into a question, maybe i can ease towards a time when i am able to share that, ‘well honestly, i don’t think they’re a great use of your time.’ i know that as a person who regularly has to do a stock take on how i use my time [cos i do tend towards getting caught up in addictive things altho often very silly and time-wasting ones] i am aware that that can become an issue and so i am likely to listen to the message and take it to heart if it is presented well.

on the other hand i don’t want to water down the message so much [if it is a strong message that really does need to be heard] that the point of it is lost completely. but i think this is where relationship comes in – i try to be accountable to everyone – as someone with an audience, as a Christian leader in different areas, i am aware that that is a crucial thing to do. but at the same time it is the people who i have specifically invited to speak into my life – people like Regan Didloff, Rob Lloyd and Bruce Collins, people like Mike dreadlock Strauss and Mandy Hunt and of course my wife Valerie [and a bunch of others] who get a much stronger invitation to speak more directly and harshly where necessary. Val will be able to tell you i don’t often take it well in the moment [does anyone like to be told they are wrong?] but that i will take the criticism to heart and more often than not think about it for a while and then make a response to it later.

a clue i can share with you is that accusations such as “you always” or “you never” don’t go down well in arguments or even received emails – questions are good as well as “i feel that…” or “i think…” statements which allow space for you to be possibly wrong instead of just loading something on to the person you are speaking to…

so i encourage you next time you are about to write an email or have a conversation with someone that requires you to share a tough Truth [in Love] to take a moment and try and receive it in the way you are about to give it, and see how you would respond and whether it is worth taking another minute or two to figure out a way that you would receive that particular message well. i believe this will help give your message a much needed boost and possibility of getting through to the person you are engaging with.

let me know how it goes…

[to continue to part V: a glimpse into the why, click here]

the other day i saw this cartoon that someone had posted on facebook that was pretty funny but involved hitler in a way that i knew would be offensive to a lot of jewish people. so i immediately wrote the girl who had posted it an email [more a friend of a friend than a direct friend] and just before i hit the send key i stopped for a moment, reread what i had written and changed it before sending it…

instead of ‘hey friend, you posted a cartoon that is going to hurt people’ or something like that, i started with some relationship [‘hey friend, long time no chat, how are you doing? what you been up to?’] and then i identified with the cartoon and why she had posted it [i find the cartoon really funny but at the same time i think it may be offensive to some people] and then finished off with more relationship and encouragement [‘continue to rock on – you often send along good twitter fun vibes… much love’]

she responded with:


You’re 100% right. Sometimes I don’t think… There’s a fine line between dark humour and plain darkness. I actually had a funny feeling after logging off and needed to come back on FB to delete it. Then I saw your message. Thanks for the mail, thanks for calling me out and gently pointing it out, I really appreciate it.

You rock on too.”]

and i realised i got that one right… and as a bonus victory, later in the week i decided to keep a certain description [of a friend who wrote for my marriage blog series] out of my intro [that she was someone who had always said she’d never be married] because i thought hey, maybe she wouldn’t want me to share that about her publically [she wrote back saying i totally didn’t need to edit it out, but i still think making sure was the right move when there was any kind of doubt]

so yay for double victories… but boo for the knowledge that there have been many [and probably many, many, i am quite old] times when i have not gotten it right.

and ‘but i meant well’ is not good enough for people i hurt by not being as gentle in my calling out as i was with this person…

Truth is important, but Truth-in-Love should be non-negotiable, as a Jesus follower at the very least. And i think that looking back, there have been times where I have shared Truth and possibly even meant Love but not conveyed it well at all. I have hurt people by being too quick to rush to Truth [or my version of it] and too slow to honour Relationship and for this i am deeply sorry. i don’t even know if i can pull a Zacchaeus and go back and find all the people i have wronged and make things right [and i imagine most of them will not be reading what i write here] just because i don’t have a comprehensive list of who they are. what i can do is learn from the two victories of this week and ensure that i follow a more Truth-in-Love stance as my go-to response as the norm.

however, having said all that, let me finish by saying these two things which make it incredibly more complicated and complex:

[1] there is not enough Truth-in-Love in the church! there is something we mistake as love which is usually born out of a fear of confrontation in any form and so we would rather let our close friends sink in their sin than call them on it, gently in love, and help them become better, stronger people… [Proverbs 27.6 ‘Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.’] Close friends are the ones more likely to be listened to and often i have felt forced to intervene because none of the people who should have been Truthing-in-Love were being good friends… we need to step up more into this.

and [2] there are times [and these must be so carefully discerned] where the person receiving the correction will not feel loved and that doesn’t mean Love has not happened – and there are times when the rebuke must be strong and times when it must be public… the trick is just figuring out the difference and i imagine the Holy Spirit is key in that – but Jesus publically takes down the pharisees and other leaders on occasion, and paul publically rebukes peter at one time [i believe that public sin often requires public dealing with it – very different to the matthew 18 ‘if your brother sins against you’ way of dealing with things, because the sin has affected so many more people and for their growth they need to be aware of how it was dealt with and that it was dealt with]… i was recently unfriended on facebook for doing this to someone and looking back i still think i did the right thing, but i am not completely convinced i did it in the most loving way, the jury is still out on that one although i did spend a lot of time trying to mend the relationship after that.

so we need to be being good friends to those around us and when someone who calls themselves a Jesus follower displays some behaviour or posts something on a social network that is strongly against the message of following Jesus, we need to have the guts to confront them. but we need to speak Truth-in-Love and always make sure that we have an abundance of Love. we need to [and by ‘we’ i mean ‘i’ and i imagine my wife is going to hurt herself nodding to this one] take longer to respond and be very sure of the Love and manner of response before we send it. we need to make sure we are as vocal and more public in applauding when people get it right…

hopefully that is one mistake i can choose to never make again.

why is this stuff important? i don’t think this is about arisefest and my blog – not anymore, that was just a catalyst to a lot of in depth thinking about a crucial topic which i feel is hugely lacking in the church…

[was i right in wot i wrote about arisefest? i’m not sure, perhaps not – the one principle that was intentional though was mentioning names of some of the bands i was super amped with (so that those who were not there could still hear some praise of some of the individuals and groups who got it right – there were many more) and not mentioning names of bands/individuals who i thort maybe got it wrong (so that those who were not there didn’t get a gossip feed on something that didn’t concern them) – however, for those who were at the fest it was obvious as to two of the individuals i was referring to and that is consistent with my thorts on the public behaviour vibe (i do think it would have been a lot more fair on the mc guy to speak more in depth with him as opposed to the quick rebuke i gave to him in person – i have been trying to track him down to do so, but as of yet no-one has given me his name) and dealing with it…]

the principle i do want to look at is accountability – most people really don’t dig confrontation (maybe all people, altho i have met some do who seem to rather like it) in any shape or form and so just don’t do it at all – and so when our friends are caught up in sin (which is always going to be destructive – to them and probably those around them, at some time or other) we look the other way, because dealing with it will be awkward.

and it will. but it is necessary. and if the friends and family of people started taking more responsibility and ownership in the area of accountability/Truth-in-Love speaking/correction then it would not be left to third parties to feel the need/pressure to take it on themselves. and if it comes from friends/family then it is way more likely to be received well and effective because there is relationship there already…

proverbs 27.6 “wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” – that is an incredible verse and an amazing principle – if someone who is a good friend to me calls me on something/challenges in love/gently rebukes then it will still be a wound (no-one likes to know or hear they are wrong ever, it is the pride in us) BUT if it is from a friend then i know it can be trusted because i know they love me and want my good – an enemy on the other hand will look the other way and allow me to continue with behaviour or habits that will ultimately hurt me much more deeply or else even applaud me in the wrongdoing – they may think they are being my friend because they are not making me feel bad now, but ultimately their actions prove them to be an enemy because as the sin/habit increases so it will later take me down…

the Love of the “does anyone condemn you, no? well neither do I?” must be balanced by the Truth of the “go and sin no more”

if we can get this right, we will transform the church… and then the world…

and that seems to perhaps be the principle [your thorts are greatly appreciated] – that if you sin in public, you need to be cautioned/rebuked/challenged/held accountable in public – and my reasoning is this… the people observing the non-Christ-following behaviour need to be made aware that that is not Christ-following behaviour otherwise they might think it is okay and go and do the same…

so when peter is chilling with the gentiles and then the certain group of jews show up and suddenly peter pulls aside and pretends not to hang with the gentiles, paul could have pulled peter aside and gently rebuked him, but then the people observing the behaviour would not have realised that it was wrong and would perhaps still have been discipled into doing the same kind of behaviour because peter had modelled it.

Jesus eventually takes on the Pharisees and Sadducees publically because He wants to send a strong message to them, but also to the people who are following them or watching their behaviour and thinking that is what it means to be a follower of Yahweh – and so He is sending a message to the people as much as He is to the religious leaders.

this coupled with the teaching in the new testament on the greater responsibility that leaders/teachers have to teach and live well, because not only are they responsible for their own lives, but also for the lives of those people who are watching them lead and listening to them teach…

so that is kind of where my thorts are at on this – i think it is a risky or potentially dangerous thinking to have, because it can quite easily be abused or done wrong – and i believe the key here is Truth in Love (altho again if we look at how Jesus speaks to the religious leaders it’s hard to see where Truth in Love ends and Righteous Anger begins)

the one other example someone quoted to me was Jesus and the woman caught in sin in John 8 but again the whole situation there was pretty public (altho the public aspect of it was kind of thrust upon Jesus as part of the trap) and coupled with Jesus’ “does anyone condemn you? no, then neither do I” is His parting line of “Go, and sin no more!” – the Love and the Responsibility go hand in hand and Jesus doesn’t undermine one to present the other…

continue to the last part here

what came to mind and this is really just to get people thinking more than making any point cos i think i naturally would have gone with the ‘gently pull aside’ approach is a bunch of incidents when that didn’t seem to happen:

in matthew 16.23 Peter starts to rebuke Jesus for speaking about His death and Jesus responds by saying, “Get behind me, satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of man.”

in matthew 23 Jesus goes off at the pharisees and sadducees (the religious leaders) and publically tells them off including such lines as “woe to you blind guides”, “you make him twice the son of hell as you are”, “you blind fools”, “you are like whitewashed tombs which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead man’s bones and everything unclean”, “you hypocrites” and “you snakes! you brood of vipers!”

in mark 11 Jesus publically drives the people out of the temple grounds who are buying and selling there in quite an aggressive show of force and then teaches them that “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations?’ But you have made it ‘a den of robbers’.”

and other times when His disciples are bickering about who is going to be the most important in the kingdom of heaven, He addresses them publically in the group and corrects them

then there is the time in paul’s blog to the galatians when he speaks about confronting peter for his hypocracy in separating himself from hanging out with the gentiles when certain jews were in town – a public sin which receives a public challenge…

continue to part iii here

so my arisefest blog got quite a few people heated in terms of the manner in which i dealt with some of the frustrations i had concerning my arisefest experience (which for the most part was a completely incredible experience – the people who missed the point certainly didn’t spoil it for me or anyone else i doubt) and some of the behaviours i witnessed…

[what was an interesting phenomenon was how quickly the issues were dropped/ignored in the interest of arguing about how they were dealt with – a less interesting phenomenon was how significant my spelling of the word ‘thought’ as ‘thort’ became in people’s judgement of me… hm?]

anyways, all that aside, it got me thinking a lot about how we should challenge people and hold them accountable when they appearingly step out of line and the common thort is that we should gently pull them aside and caution/rebuke them. correct?

you know, like Jesus taught in matthew 19.15-17 which starts off, “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ and so on.

that does feel like the correct response, but is it the same thing we’re talking about?

it talks about ‘your brother sins against you’ whereas what i was speaking into was a situation with various people/groups sinning publically as opposed to just against me – how did Jesus respond to that?

continue to part ii here

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