Proverbs 29:15 says, "The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother." I used this verse not too long ago during our nightly devotion with my kids. I was trying to explain to them that when we are corrected, we have a choice make. We can chose to either learn from the correction, thus, gaining wisdom, or ignoring it, hardening our hearts, and risking receiving greater punishment or consequences down the road as our behavior ensues.
If you are a parent, boss, teacher, or even a good friend, you have had the unlovely duty of 'rebuking' someone, I am sure. This is when we see behavior being displayed that is inappropriate for whatever reason. We, too, have a choice: not say anything and allow the behavior to continue or say something to the one we love in hopes they will gain wisdom and correct it before something terrible comes as a result.
But, let me ask you this...have you ever been rebuked by your children? I am sorry (or thankful) to say, I have...I was...last night. God will give anyone wisdom who will seek for it, as I witnessed last night.
I made a choice not to go to church last night, my body was extremely worn out and I could tell it just wanted to shut down. So, I told the kids, who were all very upset. They came up with all kinds of things we could do to ensure they could go, but I finally told them, 'No.'
So, we proceeded to clean up the kitchen, get the babies ready for bed and the oldest three began taking showers and getting ready for bed. I got increasingly tired...and grumpy for that matter. As I looked around, it was clear that everyone decided to do their jobs only half-way. I started getting very upset; I must have looked like raging lunatic getting so upset over such silly, little things. So, the time finally came when they were all upstairs, and while I was on my way up I heard Ruthie reading them all a Bible story. I let them watch a short Veggie Tales movie and then it was time to say our night-night prayers and for us all to go to bed. I had fallen asleep during the movie, so when I was praying, I was half-asleep. I recall asking God to forgive me for the way I had behaved, and that the kids would see that I am a person who makes mistakes that needs forgiveness as well. We finished praying and they all came running to me telling me that they forgave me and wished me a good night sleep.
This morning, the Lord woke me up early, so I got myself ready before going up to make sure they were up to get ready for school. I guess He had woken them up as well, because they were all in Lance's room reading with the flash lights when I got up there! The first thing Ruthie said to me was, did you rest well, Mama? You look great and not so grumpy this morning! That was a strike to the heart like all the others. My children did not take an unhonoring road to openly rebuke me, God rebuked me through the loving actions of my children. He provided the wisdom to my children that they needed to deal with ME!
Sometimes that is the road we need to take with others. When my husband may not act or respond in a way I think he should, rather than openly rebuke him, maybe I should just love him with Christ's love. When a friend has an attitude, we don't always know what is going on their lives, maybe we need to love them with our actions toward them.
There are certainly times when God calls us specifically to openly rebuke someone, but He is a God of love and if loving someone will bring them back to Christ, He knows it. Be still before Him, ask for His wisdom, and allow Him to show you the direction of rebuke or reproof He wants you to take, it may simply be the road of love.