Encouragement, Edification, and Rebuke

Today, beloved friends, I want to discuss something that I actually wrote about months ago and never got to finish and post. I’m thankful I waited, there were so many different scandals and online battles within Christianity at the time, that much could have been read into what I was trying to say. It’s always frustrating when your words are taken out of context. Naturally, that’s why I write Twisted Tuesday’s, to ensure we never do that to God Himself. It’s easy to take what others say online in particular and twist it, which is an important point to why I’m writing this today.

If you’ve followed me long enough you know my goal is to bring glory to God, and to encourage and edify His elect. Our heart towards one another ought to always be love, and that love for you drives me to write. Even that love I have for the brethren is an outpouring of Gods love, mercy, and kindness, not by any great strength of ability I have. Many of you take to the blogosphere likewise, to love Gods people. Many of you have been a tremendous help to me, teaching me, correcting me, and from time to time rebuking me unintentionally through your instructive posts. I want to take a moment to thank you all for your encouragement, diligence, and edification. What a blessing it is to have met you all, and been instructed by you daily!

That’s two of the three things I wanted to speak on, the last is rebuke. The internet has, in many ways, become a bastion of infighting and snide remarks. Don’t get me wrong, many places are, like I’ve already pointed out, beautifully full of encouragement. If this was balanced out by loving rebuke, and care filled correction, it would be so much more helpful. Unfortunately we don’t see that very often, as a matter of fact it’s become the exception and not the rule. If not for many of you displaying the correct behavior for online discussion, I might have been carried away by it all. I can’t thank you all enough! There is a time and a place for everything, what do you know our parents were right.

Most often open rebuke finds its time and place within an individual church, led by leaders, elders, and the pastor. Too often, online, we misunderstand one another, and seek to rebuke for something the other doesn’t mean or believe. That can be hurtful and damaging to others, the very last thing we want to do to our brothers and sisters in Christ! This is why we need to hope all things, and if something is confusing clarify it with that person. There’s nothing wrong with correction, when done in love, which means we need to be weary of our own hearts. Why do we want to correct someone? That should be the first question, before we even ask whether or not they need to be corrected.

Several months ago I saw a Christian blogger close up shop, they couldn’t stand the arguments they were encountering any longer. That’s what got me thinking, at the time, about the importance of balancing correction with encouragement, but most importantly, edification. If your rebuke doesn’t edify it was most likely not delivered in love. Lovingly correcting our brothers and sisters, or rebuking them when they are in sin, stems from humility. When we remember what God has saved us from, and how His sanctification has worked within us, we can see others in a much more patient light. Before we address others actions, we need to stop and pray, and examine our own motives. Let caution be ever present, and love be the guiding force.

Have you, dear ones, encountered this online? How did you handle it? What advice do you have for younger bloggers or believers who are active in social media? You’re wisdom and advice is a wonderful blessing! As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Author: lnhereford

I am a Christian, wife, mother, podcaster and homeschooler currently traveling the United States with my loving husband and darling daughter!

19 thoughts on “Encouragement, Edification, and Rebuke”

  1. Thanks, sister! Good post and I’ve been thinking about this topic lately myself. I’m going to think out loud for a few minutes. Fellowshiping with my brothers and sisters here at WP has been a great blessing but at times can lead to bad feelings and sometimes even open hostility! How could that be? Well, we know that written communication lacks the facial expressions and voice inflection that makes face-to-face communication so much more effective. Something meant in jest can be taken seriously. People are also bolder and more aggressive sitting in front of a computer screen. They communicate things via computer they would never say face-to-face. Also, believers will often make crusades out of their personal views on secondary beliefs. I’ve been guilty of offending fellow believers on all three counts myself so I speak from experience. Gently correcting another believer takes some prayer and humbleness. Sometimes a believer is of such a different mind on the secondaries and so strongly outspoken that there’s just no sense in dialoguing with them.

    I appreciate the post, sister! We need to be more gentle and loving with each other rather than following the world’s example where sarcasm, put downs, and snarkiness rule.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for thinking out loud here, brother! You’ve been instrumental in teaching me that those secondaries are not what we should be fighting for. It’s the Gospel above all else that we need to defend. I thought, when I first got saved out of the WoF movement, everyone I knew in the movement would be overjoyed to hear the news. It was immaturity on my part, they were not overjoyed, rather they were offended. I could have let the change God wrought in me be an example of the difference between religion and born again salvation. It was a missed opportunity for sure. I thought when I got on WP I would be doing so to help encourage other believers, I had no idea that Gods sovereign purpose was actually to grow and correct me! That is a kindness, like all His others, that I certainly don’t deserve.
      You’ve made such an excellent point, here, when you add that online lacks all the usual social cues of face-to-face discussion. That makes it all the more important to be careful how we write, as we’ll be held accountable for every vein word. If not for your instruction, my friend, I’d still be sinning in those three areas! Iron sharpens iron. God is so good to use this means of correcting me. His goodness, and mercy, are too much for me…even in this subject you can see Him so clearly active in our lives. I use to think a move of the spirit was falling down and laughing, what a silly, frivolous thing in comparison to the Holy Spirit working sanctification in us! I pray the Lord blesses you, as you’ve been such a daily encouragement and blessing to me!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sister, thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words! Your posts are examples to all of us of solid Biblical information couched in gentleness. Iron sharpens iron! I know I tend to be a bit raw in my messages regarding Catholicism. I think there’s a place for that, especially as more and more evangelical pastors are moving towards ecumenism.
        Yes, the Lord has worked through your posts to challenge my thinking in areas like science and logic. And given me more appreciation of the Puritans. I look forward to your posts and keep ’em coming! Especially regarding Paul Washer. Hey, I don’t think you and I have gotten into any squabbles yet. That has to be your patience and forbearance! Thank you and manifold blessings to you and yours!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. In regards to our not squabbling I was thinking the exact same thing, my friend, but about your patience with me! There’s no way for two believers to agree on everything, but you once told me you didn’t want to push it and find out. I’ve taken that advice to heart, and applied it to other brethren as well whether on WP, church, or daily life. No need to search out disagreements. I was so aggressive and confrontational before God saved me that I often avoid it now like the plague. It reminds me of the vomit like sinful life I use to live, unfortunately it’s made me more timid than perhaps I should be. I want to share my faith, and God strengthens me to do so, but the very thought of the confrontation it may cause can keep me paralyzed. It’s partly why I waited on this post, I’m not sure how balanced my perspective is. That’s why I asked for your advice, and our brothers and sisters as well. Boy am I glad I did! It’s such a gift to have believers come along side me and help me grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I think we can bring up controversial topics for good, honest discussion in order to air various viewpoints. I’ve done that myself with such things as politics and nationalism, drinking alcohol, Calvinism vs. Arminianism, but there’s always a risk someone may become offended. You have brought up controversial topics with great grace and I appreciate that. I have a lot of things to say about our national political leadership but I would just be grinding my own axe and not edifying anyone so I resist going there. Sorry, just rambling at this point at 3AM. Our anxiety-ridden dog is having another spell. But I wanted to comment that you have a nice way of inviting discussion without stirring up acrimony.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Oh no, as we say back home ‘bless your heart’ *heavy accent*. I should have checked my phone, we finally found a puppy Kayleigh is not allergic to! I’m so excited I almost don’t mind getting up all night to take her out 🙂 almost.
        Thank you for the complement, brother, I really appreciate it. And I hope you get some rest today!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thanks! Glad for you and your family that you found a puppy! A great addition! Slept for a couple of hours after my wife got up, lots to do. Have a blessed LD weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Tom, do you recall that our own start together was a wee bit rocky? Turns out you nailed it about that other blog you had the issue with. It has gone totally off the deep end. I have not written there in two years probably. But, we talked and came to an agreement on the issue, and now I count you as a staunch friend and brother.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, Wally, I do remember our start. As you know, I had been away from the Lord and the church for so long during my Rip Van Winkle prodigal “season” and when I returned I was shocked at how much the evangelical church in general had changed regarding Catholicism. Well, I guess I haven’t mellowed yet!

        I very much appreciate your support and friendship the past several years. Many of the brethren avoid a blog like mine these days. I also appreciate your zeal for the Lord and your faithfulness in presenting the Gospel by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Thanks, my brother and friend!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Well, your blog serves a mission, Tom. There are roles somebody has to take, and that is yours. It’s not mine, but a lot of that has to do with your background. I have been accused of being hateful to militant atheists from time to time, so you keep on keeping on.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, sadly. I recently joined a large Christain group. Ive been observing how people handle conflict and questions others post. Its not unusual to see name calling and other hateful remarks from those of the faith supposedly. Its sad to see.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Good post, sister, and a good question you asked as well. It’s a tough subject, isn’t it? Last time I checked the word or even the concept of Blogs and social media is not addressed in the Bible, so it is one of those gray areas for sure. One thing we can say Biblically is that blogland is not a church. We don’t fit the Biblical definition of a local, called out assembly of believers. I do believe it is that institution, formed by Jesus himself to which we are accountable almost in total; and of course, we are always accountable to Jesus our Lord. But in an earthly sense, you are not accountable to the local assembly of believers where I claim membership, nor I to yours. Where does that leave blogging? Well beats me really. I know I don’t troop on to other blogs to rebuke and correct others on doctrinal issues. If engaged, or the forum seems designed for it, I will share what I understand of the Bible. Not everybody writes things I agree with here. For the most part, I just don’t like or respond. Even some of my friends will sometimes write something I don’t agree with. Then…well…it just depends I suppose. Now if somebody comes to my place teaching falsehoods, then clearly I have an obligation to refute such. It’s a tough subject. Thanks for this. Now the other two edification and encouragement? Every day I get that here, and every day I strive to give it to another, even those with whom I might not totally agree. Are there those I will contend stridently with? You bet. That would be the militant atheist attack dogs who do nothing but cruise Christian blogs trying to lure believers away(as if they could!) or get them to shut down their blogs. They rarely visit me anymore, because after four years they know the effort is a waste of time. I have been known to engage pretty roughly on other blogs when I see a brother or sister being attacked.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What an excellent point, my friend! This really is something that should stay within ones personal church. Particularly because your church family knows you better than the internet folks do. Also, it’s a lot easier to give and take rebuke when there’s a relationship already formed. I think the disconnect comes from a lack of understanding church discipline. Anyone who doesn’t know God’s plan for these matters might think they have to act, or their brother and sister will continue sinning. Like you said, there’s no need to ‘troop’ into other bloggers. I had to pray over a situation where I was really grieved by a specific bloggers posts, they were not just disheartening but downright sinful. If I were looking at just that persons blogs I would suppose they were a false convert. I don’t know that person though, or the struggles they go through outside of WP. I finally made the very difficult decision to simply stop following them, although I pray for them often. It’s hard to know when is the right time to step in, but I think in the case of social media, less is more. Like you said, we say things online we’d never say in person!
      Thank you for your input, and encouragement, brother! You’re posts are always a blessing, the educational, personal, and the funny ones!

      Liked by 1 person

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