#36. To Rebuke the Sinner.
WHAT IS THE DUTY OF A JEW OR CHRISTIAN?
"Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him." (Torah)
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" (Burke)
For some weeks now, in fact for years, we have tried to impart to the world (or whoever would hear us) that sin should not be allowed to fester. Naturally, we have failed up to this point.
What do I mean by "fail"? Simply, the world has not decided to stop sinning, nor have Jews and Christians forcefully and consistently rebuked the sinner.
All the prophets of the Bible, including Jesus Christ, failed the same way. Though they forcefully and consistently rebuked the nation of Israel for its collective sin, the people, generally speaking, continued on the path to destruction or dissolution.
This is not a Jewish or Israelite failing, but is instead a human failing. The Book of Revelation tells us that the world, and all the activities of men, shall come to a screeching halt because of unrelenting and growing sin. There is nothing that can stop this eventual end.
If this is true, that nothing can stop the people from sinning, why continue rebuking?
(1) We rebuke because we believe sin is harmful. Rebuking is therefore preventive medicine.
(2) No one was ever hurt by refraining from sin. Notwithstanding that you prevent a person from acting out their desires and fantasies, rebuking shows compassion.
(3) Failing to rebuke enables sin, aiding and abetting it. If you do not rebuke, you are party to the sin. See 613.26.
(4) Failing to rebuke is participating in the destruction of mankind, if not the universe. Continuing to rebuke evidences hope in man's ultimate goodness, and is a prayer to God that we should not be permitted to self-destruct. We are as Abraham praying for Sodom and Gomorrah.
(5) God commands it. Rebuking sin is obedience to God. We who believe (Jew and Christian) must rebuke the sinner.
We are commanded to rebuke the sinner at every turn.
We are commanded to rebuke the sinner whether or not we succeed.
We are commanded to rebuke not strangers but neighbors, friends, and family.
We are commanded to rebuke so that the sinner will not harm himself further.
We are commanded to rebuke so that we cannot be accused of aiding and abetting, or enabling, someone else's sin.
We are commanded to rebuke for the good of our community also, so that society may be cohesive and united, pleasant and peaceful.
We are commanded to rebuke so that our children will learn to rebuke, and so the Law will not be flouted or forgotten.
Many believe that rebuking is rude and intrusive. They therefore rebuke the rebuker, making a double standard, and themselves hypocrites. For though they pretend sin is an invention of man to control men, they nevertheless seek to control men by playing the victim.
Such hypocrites are ripe to call rebukers hypocrites. They say rebukers ought to clean up their own mess before telling others what to do. While this has merit and value, and is based on some Biblical principle ("remove the mote from your own eye first"), the goal of the sinner is not to motivate the rebuker to have standing but rather it is to completely stifle the rebuker. For if the rebuker is too weak to clean up his own mess first, the sinner feels justified to continue in sin, more so for having defeated the rebuker. But even if the rebuker does clean up his own mess first, the sinner will simply move to the next tactic of his strategy, which is to call the rebuker a know-it-all, a busybody, and a fascist.
Every rebuker, including Jesus Christ, has experience with this human response. For in every place and time, humans want to do what humans want to do, disregarding law, tradition, peer pressure, conscience, and danger. The sinner therefore imagines himself an adventurer, a conqueror, a pioneer, and views the rebuker as a thorn in the paw, quicksand, and an enemy of progress.
For this reason, rebukers are often put to death, whether spiritually, emotionally, or physically.
Spiritually, rebukers are called hypocrites, those who say but do not do. To some degree, this is justified, but in no way does it justify the sinner. It is merely a tactic to continue sinning.
Emotionally, rebukers are called cold, who haven't the humanity necessary to understand the feelings of another. Yet the rebuker does care, for the person, for God, or for both. No matter, the sinner shall excommunicate the rebuker until such time the sinner is satisfied the rebuker has "learned a lesson" and "can be trusted" to stop rebuking.
Physically, rebukers are beaten and killed. Christ was crucified for rebuking. He rebuked the people, and they were not happy. He rebuked the Jewish leadership, and they were not happy. Though he was found guiltless by the court of Sanhedrin, Christ was a menace to the power structure of that time, which permitted and even encouraged sin.
No one likes to be rebuked. Rebuke reminds that one is indeed a sinner, not the good person one wishes to see in the mirror or reflected in the eyes of friends and family.
To escape rebuke, some employ the strategies previously mentioned. These are the general population of willful or compulsive sinners, who have no true intention of repenting and changing.
Others escape rebuke through an elaborate religious doctrine which protects ("saves") the believer, even if the believer does not rebuke or accept rebuking, or fails to teach the Law of God. Such doctrine creates Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others who do not rebuke, and who therefore destroy their own community and society.
Their excuses are:
(1) The Law is amendable. Wrong! The Law says it is eternal and non-amendable, and that it is mandatory for all believers in the One True God to teach this Law to their children.
(2) The people are innocent, being led of unwise teachers. This is partly-true. While doctrine is taught, even pushed forcefully, on the flock, the book itself teaches the truth of the Law.
(3) Times have changed. This is a cop-out.
(4) The Savior comes, or came, to change the Law. Wrong! The Savior comes, or came, to enforce the Law, teach the Law, and to make a kingdom built from and on the Law.
When the Christian says "the Law is fulfilled" by Christ and therefore it is not the duty or purview of the Christian to rebuke, such a Christian has opted to enable sin. Such a Christian has abdicated responsibility in the community, in the household, and in the soul. Such a Christian shares in the blame and guilt where sin continues under his or her nose. Such a Christian is called "least" in heaven, and should not expect a bailout called the Rapture.
Christ taught to rebuke the sinner in the most forceful manner (Matthew 18:15-18). The Christian should do likewise.
Is rebuke the same as passing judgment?
When you point out someone's sin, you are not making a legal judgment, but only presenting evidence from the Bible. You are presenting fact: (1) that the Bible forbids such-and-such, or (2) that the Bible commands to do such-and-such. It is still up to that person to change his or her ways. It is still up to a Sanhedrin court to reach a verdict. It is still up to God to make final judgment.
was bit more aggressive. He said that if a person fails to repent after
being rebuked three times, that person ought to be treated as a pagan
(Matt. 18:17), which means death or excommunication. Do you have
the fortitude and faith to follow and obey Christ here? Or shall
you permit pagans and every manner of evil to rule over you?
Much more on this vital subject. Listen in NOW!
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