March 23, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Alice Rhee, Gracepoint Minneapolis

ANALYSIS

List all the words that describe a foolish response to rebuke, correction, instruction, and advice.

-despise wisdom and discipline
-resents rebuke
-insults the rebuker
-heaps abuse
-ignores it and leads others astray
-hates
-pride
-scorns
-spurn
-stiff-necked

List all the words that describe a wise response to rebuke, correction, instruction, and advice.

-love the rebuker
-listens to advice; takes advice
-respects a command
-heeds correction
-consulsts the wise
-listens to a life-giving rebuke

What risks are involved in giving rebuke, correction, instruction, and advice?

Risks that are involved in giving rebuke, correction, instruction and advice are:

-insults and abuse
-be hated
-scorned
-rejected

What happens to those who reject rebuke, correction, instruction, and advice?

Consequences to those who reject rebuke, correction, instruction and advice:

-will lead others astray
-will become stupid
-become prideful and breed quarrels
-will become so hardened and dull that even 100 lashes will not be impressed upon him.
-will suddenly be destroyed without remedy.  There will be a point in one’s life where no amount of correction will penetrate a person who has rejected correction again and again.

APPLICATION

What is your typical response to rebuke, correction, instruction, and advice from the various people in your life? When I receive correction from my spiritual leaders, older brothers/sisters or my peers, my typical response is to try to listen first and then I eventually receive the truth.  However, this process is often not easy.  There are some moments where I find myself wanting to justify and state all kinds of rationalizations for why I did what I did.  One area I struggle with is with blaming – whether it be other people or my circumstances rather than take full responsibility for my actions, the state of my heart and my character flaws.  Once my initial pride and ego that flares up in defense of myself dies down, I examine my life in the light of the correction and accept the truth for what it is.  This process is hard since it requires that I absorb the truth for what it is, allow it to pierce and sting my heart, deflate my pride and let the truth humiliate me.  Sometimes it may take some time to reflect and wrestle over the things that have been said.  As much as my instinct is to reject and justify the truth, in the end, when I am face with a truth, then it is truth that I must accept. I cannot try to erase it, hide it, or run away from it – as much as I want to –simply because it’s reality that I cannot alter and ultimately God knows and sees all.  Over the years God has taught me through many, many rebukes, corrections, instructions and advice to receive it with trust and a humble heart and I can truly say that they have saved me and others from much grief and allowed me to experience God’s grace and forgiveness tangibly.  This has also led me to experience freedom in all my relationships where I can relate to people in my life authentically.

What is your relationship with those who would be considered “wise”? Those who are “wise” in my life are my spiritual leaders who are older and wiser than I am as they have weathered many more years of life and ministry. My spiritual leaders were there to guide me with their wisdom through various junctures of my life, through personal struggles in my relationship with God, as well given me much ministry wisdom as I continue to learn to guide others spiritually and strive to love people.  Throughout the years they have become some of the closest of people in my life with whom I have an open relationship with.  And especially now, as we are out here further away in Minneapolis, the need for their wisdom and guidance is that much more felt and realized that in many ways I had taken our close proximity for granted.  I am so thankful that we can continue to seek them out any time despite the distance and commit to continually communicate with them openly to receive much needed guidance, advice, and feedback we need to lead the ministry out here.


Submitted by Steve Kim, Gracepoint Riverside.

ANALYSIS

List all the words that describe a foolish response to rebuke, correction, instruction, and advice.

  • Despise
  • Resent
  • Insult
  • Abuse
  • Hate
  • Leads others astray
  • Regards his way to be automatically right
  • Scorns
  • Spurns
  • Ignores
  • Stiff-necked, stubborn

List all the words that describe a wise response to rebuke, correction, instruction, and advice.

  • Loves the wise man who brings rebuke
  • Becomes wiser still and adds to his learning
  • Sees the way to life
  • Loves knowledge
  • Listens to advice
  • Respects commands
  • Heeds corrections
  • Shows prudence
  • Feeling at home among the wise

What risks are involved in giving rebuke, correction, instruction, and advice?

You run the risk of being despised and hated by the one you are trying to speak the truth to.  He may resent you, because the truth hurts his pride and challenges his foolish, sinful ways.  He may try to insult you for having a selfish, ulterior motive for trying to expose some folly he is engaged in that will lead to sinning in some very tragic way.

It’s like that moment in the Lord of the Rings when Bilboa Baggins was confronted by Gandalf about the evil ring he had.  When Gandalf was urging him to let go of the ring, Bilboa started to self-rationalize why he should keep it.  When the confrontation started to get really heated and uncomfortable Bilboa suddenly turned on Gandalf in a vindictive manner claiming that Gandalf really wanted the ring for himself.   In that scene we see a vivid example of someone acting like an utter fool.  Bilboa was being that fool, whose way seemed right to him.  Motivated out of the lust of his eyes and greed for what his sinful heart desired, Bilboa would not head the advice and correction of the wiser Gandalf, who really loved Bilboa as a dear friend.  Thankfully when Gandalf rebuked Bilboa in a way only a wizard can do, Bilboa came to his senses and humbled himself to listen to what is right and true rather than experiencing the cost of spurning the rebuke.  If Bilboa had remained ‘stiff-necked’ towards Gandalf’s rebuke, he too would’ve been destroyed without remedy like Gollum.  He too would’ve become a disfigured being cut off from all that is right, good and beautiful.

Being a “Gandalf” towards others we care for is risky.  There’s the emotional cost of being ignored, hated, and even insulted.  There’s the cost of investing the time and all your mental, emotional resources to speak the truth in love to someone.  It usually starts with an advice, then correction and as a last resort rebuke.

At each step of escalating attempts to break through someone’s folly, there’s the possibility of your friend or disciple turning on you in a vindictive, vicious way.

Then there’s the cost of mourning over that person experiencing the consequences of his foolish, prideful, stubborn ways.

** reflecting on the risks involved in engaging someone with the truth makes me again appreciate my leaders, friends and wife for loving me enough to take on such risks to love me with the truth in the past.  There are countless ways I had been spared from self-destruction, misery and stupidity, because I had these ‘Gandalfs’ in my life to confront my folly.  The folly I had been spared of ranged from simple, day to day things like making a pot of rice to more long lasting tragic consequences of stubbornly holding onto my pride.  These are consequences that would’ve caused many to be led astray and allowing my pride to breed quarrels, which would lead to eroding my relationships with others.

What happens to those who reject rebuke, correction, instruction, and advice?

  • They remain infantile as they reject opportunities to become wiser and add to their learning.
  • They lead others astray –>  as a leader this is something that really hits home, because my folly in ignoring correction can mislead others by giving them bad advice or encouraging others to imitate my folly.  This is especially true of my sons, because they almost always attempt to imitate me.  They are especially prone to imitating my bad habits and character flaws.
  • They end up paying a cost for scorning instructions.  –>  I’m reminded of this through our recent Yosemite trip with the UC Riverside students.  Part of the checklist in exiting the rental house we were at involved turning off the main water valve and draining the water.  If in our rush to get out we had just skimmed through the check list and had not carefully gone through each step, the water in the pipes would’ve froze, rupturing the pipes.  This would’ve resulted in thousands of dollars of damages to the house.  Indeed there’s a cost we will inevitably pay in scorning instructions.  In fact, there’s a much higher cost to scorning spiritual instructions for living life.
  • Invites death in refusing to listen to rebuke.  Also results in being not at home with the wise.  Instead of appreciating the wisdom of wiser people, you live in constant discomfort and insecurity around them.  You feel diminished by them rather than being grateful and praising God for bringing such people into your life.

APPLICATION

What is your typical response to rebuke, correction, instruction, and advice from the various people in your life?

** I think my typical response to being rebuked, corrected, instructed or advised is to humble myself to heed their words, but this is not without struggle.  I do have pride in me which flares up.  At that moment of being corrected or receiving advice I find in me a desire to justify myself or to self-rationalize why I should just go with my instincts and ways that seem right in my own eyes.

At those moments of wanting to protest my innocence or how I am more right something within me helps me to bite my tongue, so that I can really listen.

It causes me to suspend my own self-rationalization long enough to recognize the truth or wiser way and submit to it.  I experience this most frequently with my wife and my leaders.

I also experience this with younger ones I’m supposed to be leading.  There were moments this past weekend when our group of 27 people were snowed in for 2 days without power, I was tempted to just power up and bark orders without heeding the advice of my staff.  It was a situation I did not have the experience and wisdom to handle on my own.  I’m so thankful for that ‘something’ in me, which kept me from being ‘stiff-necked’, because things would’ve been really disastrous without drawing upon the collective wisdom and experience of my staff and wife.

I think that ‘something’ in me that causes me to humble myself to truths and wisdom that come from others is the Holy Spirit at work in me.

It’s really the grace and mercy of God that steers me from the path of the foolish.

In the words of that famous hymn “Amazing Grace”….

“T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear….” it’s this fear of God and His truths that was the beginning of knowledge for me, which has helped me to journey on the path of the wise rather than plunge into folly.  It’s this fear that causes me to silence the unhelpful, foolish murmurs of my heart, so I can heed words of truth and wisdom that comes in the form of advice, instruction, correction and rebuke from people God brings into my life.

Prayer:

Lord,

Thank you for your grace and mercy that taught my heart to fear living a foolish, sinful life.  Thank you for daily working in me to help me submit to truth in whatever form or whoever  it comes from.

I know that you have spared me sorrow upon sorrow over the years and to this day, so I may not end up like the stiff-necked fool, who is suddenly destroyed without remedy.  Lord I know that my pride and sinful desires are always at work in me to plunge me into a life of folly, so I pray that your grace will never leave me.  I pray that by your grace I may be enabled and empowered to live a wise life.  Not only for my sake, but for the sake of your honor and church.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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3 Responses to “March 23, 2011 Devotion Sharing”

  1. susan says:

    thank you for sharing honestly and vulnerably from your DTs.

  2. Tony Kim says:

    Thank you Steve for this DT sharing and for the reminder of God’s grace that enables me to drive out other “unhelpful and foolish” murmurs and voices of this world, so that I can find wisdom from fearing the Lord.

  3. Michelle Yang says:

    Thank you for your sharing! It helps me to put correction in the right perspective.

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