“This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith,”
When I read this verse, I was trying to figure out what point to emphasize. I settled on the word “severely.” Why? Because so many times we rebuke others so cautiously they truly don’t understand the severity of their sin. We hear people all the time talking about God’s love. I even heard someone on tv say one time that the Gospel means God loves you. While that statement is true, that is not the Gospel.
Paul says to rebuke them severely. That means just what is says. Give it to them with both barrels. If you don’t, they could very well spend eternity in hell. I know you don’t want that. They may get upset with you. That’s okay. I had rather have a mad friend in heaven than an unoffended friend in hell. Point out their errors from God’s perspective. The rest is up to Him. He will “close the deal.”
This applies to our children as well. There are time when a swift, severe rebuke is called for. I don’t need to spell out what that means. You know. Don’t let the crocodile tears or the puppy dog eyes sway you. If you truly love your children, you will administer quick and decisive discipline. If you don’t, you are asking for trouble. They will figure it out, and you are gone for.
Willful disobedience is my threshold. When a child willfully disobeys, I respond with the severe rebuke. They know better, yet they willfully disobey. You have to be aware of their actions though. You can’t go on word of mouth. When they see you being consistent and harsh, you will begin to see a different child.
Are you willing to be the “bad guy”? Are do you compromise so they will still like you? Only one of these choices has a happy ending. I believe you will find if you will start out as firm rebuker, you will have fewer and fewer opportunities to show it. People will know you mean what you say and say what you mean. They will respect your approach. Do what God’s word says and experience the freedom of firmness.
Father, I don’t like being too firm with others, especially my own children. But I know You have called me to confront others in sin. Give me boldness to approach them and win them to Jesus.