I can’t make someone respond to rebuke correctly, but I sure can make it easier for them to do that…or more difficult.
It’s not enough for merely to say the right thing, I need to think about the right way to say it. To quote Solomon, “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable…” (Proverbs 15:2)
What is involved exactly in doing that? In other words, what does the wise person do in order to make knowledge acceptable?
I know I don’t have all the answers, perhaps you have some ideas. I’ll just jot down a couple ideas that come to mind.
1.) He doesn’t just think about what he’s going to say, he thinks about who he is saying it to.
Paul talks about admonishing the unruly, helping the fainthearted, encouraging the weak. There are different ways we speak to different people. You get those categories mixed up and there’s going to be alot of damage.
2.) He doesn’t just say things the way he would like them to be said, he thinks about what is best for the other person.
I happen to be a very sensitive person. I know what you are thinking, that’s another word for a wimp. Maybe, maybe not…my point is I like it when people rebuke me gently. I mean I’m usually pretty quick so you can kind of just put it out there and most of the time I’ll get it.
Others though aren’t so sensitive. They want you to give it to them straight. They actually like that.
I’ve found that sometimes I’ll try to rebuke someone who isn’t so sensitive the way I would like to be rebuked, and they just don’t get it. They are kind of like, Josh can you please just get to the point? If I’m going to communicate well with them, I need to think about ways I can serve them by the way I speak. To totally twist the words of Paul, to the blunt I need to become blunt. (Astericks, astericks…so long as it doesn’t violate clear biblical principles about say, being gentle.)