Sunday, August 8, 2010

on rebukes.

The first requirement in God's work is a pure, not a powerful spirit.  Those who neglect this, though their work may be done in power, will find it destroyed due to lack of purity.  Though they may truly possess the power of God, yet because their spirit is mixed, they are destroying what they build... 

- Watchman Nee, "The Breaking of the Outer Man and the Release of the Spirit."

The topic of powerful and pure spirits can stream into multiple directions - but now we will talk about rebukes and judgments.

I think that before you rebuke someone, you should be willing to fast and pray for that person.  That is to say, fast and pray for a purity of spirit - the purity of your spirit.

You can approach someone with a rebuke and say it in a powerful spirit, but if it is an impure spirit, the person ends up touching the soul of man - your soul - and not solely the Spirit of God.  This is also why it is not fasting and praying in order to find justification for your rebuke.  An unbroken soul, an impure spirit, will approach the Word of God to justify their causes, instead of approaching the Word to find God.  In doing so, we profane His Word.  (May God forgive us for searching His Word to make us look right.)

A simple example: seeing a fellow brother or sister in a gradual reversal - supposedly in their spiritual walk.  And you'd like to break off the dark cloud over his life..
But- how do you truly know it's depression?  Is it really a sense in your spirit, or a sense in your soul?  Is "depression" a word of knowledge, or your personal disagreement with this change in character?

There have been occasions in which we have made assumptions, that turned into judgment, that caused an offense in our hearts - and out of this un-clarified offense, we present a rebuke.  And even if we will never approach them with a rebuke, to even hold an assumption or judgment in our heart - would we still be willing to fast and pray for that person?

Are we willing to fast and pray for our enemies?

It's somewhat of a pride/ego issue.

I think we forget that the verse "pray for those who persecute you" was actually preceded by "love your enemies."

You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemies."  But I tell you: Love your neighbor and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

- Matthew 5.43-48

Christ did not say this with the primary intention for our persecutors to stop, or for our enemies to become our best friends - but He did it for our own change of heart.  For the sake of forgiveness, the sake of compassion, the sake of love.  To go above and beyond.  To be set apart from the world.

In fasting and praying for purity of spirit, we are praying for compassion.  If you are going to rebuke someone, you had better be willing to provide that person with a safe support to restoration.  Have we not seen it too often?  Quick to rebuke, quick to walk away, quick to be offended, quick to slander.  Where is the compassion?  Where is Jesus in all of this?  And rebuke is necessary - it's said in the Word. But better a rebuke from the wise, than from a fool...

O that we would learn what true rebuke is - that we would rebuke out of a pure heart, not for the sake of pride, not for the sake of friendship, but foremost for the sake of Christ...

God!  Teach us how to love!  Teach me how to love.. I judge and assume too, I am in need of grace too.

As many as I LOVE, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore, be zealous and repent.

- Revelation 3.19


"A Demand" by Fuco Ueda.  2002.

Currently (finished!) Reading: "The Breaking of the Outer Man and the Release of the Spirit," by Watchman Nee