(Proverbs 28:23 KJV) He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
It occurs to me today that we might be a little confused about what it means to “rebuke” (3198) someone. This comes to mind because my last experience with a group of narcissistic spoiled brats had one special child telling me what a terrible teacher I was. She says it often and has a routine of thrusting her head forward, rolling her eyes, nodding her head and waving one hand like a magician. That is not a rebuke. That is a childish attempt to manipulate me into doing things her way. I usually tell her, “Nice eye roll.”
Rebuke is not insult, manipulation or defense mechanism. Rebuke is sharing something that might be painful but will help the person being spoken to. We rarely see it and that is a shame. It is one side of the gift of exhortation. It is something God does to the faithful. It is demanded in both the Old and New Testaments. And instead we try to build self-esteem by praise and complements.
So? Short term, feel good comments keep us safe but don’t do much to help the person who has a problem. Love demands that we do what is best for the other person. Sometimes that is rebuke. If the rebuke fits, don’t put it back on the rack.