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.