Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 28:23 Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue. 24 Whoever robs his father or his mother and says, “That is no transgression,” is a companion to a man who destroys. 25 A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched. 26 Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. 27 Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse. 28 When the wicked rise, people hide themselves, but when they perish, the righteous increase.
Faint Hearted Paper Tiger
In our last session, we considered a faithful man verses a man who hastens after riches and we looked at how his worship of money caused him to be an unfaithful man. Today Solomon floods us with a blitz of reasons not to be that wicked stingy unfaithful man who is only out for himself… These passages seem to me to serve as a kind of review for the whole chapter in some ways… I don’t know if Solomon wrote these all in one setting or if the Scribes organized the proverbs in this fashion but… hey it works well.
So in today's verses, as Solomon talks about the wicked rising to leadership roles and being greedy… having apathy towards the poor, not honoring their parents and trusting their own hearts over God… And even as he gives the positive to the negative telling us about the benefits of trusting the Lord… something else stands out strong. It’s in the first verse of the passage.
23 Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue.
You know... we live in an age where it is politically correct to give a false definition to the term “tolerant”. “Tolerant” does not mean to be a faint hearted paper tiger and hide truth in a sock in your bottom drawer or sweep it under the rug when company comes like it is dirt.
Look… all this wickedness Solomon speaks of needs to be addressed and as early as possible before hearts become hardened. But it has to be addressed in love and I think as believers it is imperative that we do this correctly to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
As I said, it needs to be done in love. In my life I’ve seen three ways believers respond to wickedness in the Church.
* One is by not reaching out in love… not serving with humility the one who is going astray… instead; keeping our mouth shut and doing nothing. And some times the whole church is being led in a way that is unscriptural and believers do not stand up for the Gospel or good theology and we just let the church fall into the lap of satan himself.
* If there is a small fire in your house it is not good to ignore it …is it?… and a big fire… do your best and call the fire department. Look, we are to leave no brother or sister behind. We are our brothers keeper.
* Another way we respond to a pattern of sin in a believer is to start right out by rebuking him publicly not with humility but with a prideful super Christian I’m better than thou attitude. Really? Is that Christian in any way shape or form? We probably all know someone who has left the church because someone who has rebuked them in an unloving prideful way. This could be the arrogant man in verse 26 who trust in his own mind and is a fool. And it may even be the wicked man in verse 28 who when he comes to power every one hides from. I’ve seen this wrong way of rebuking in the Church and I don’t even want to repeat what I heard or how bad it was.
* Thirdly, I’ve seen what Solomon says in verse 23. That is... instead of flattering someone who is walking in sin... rebuking them with a heart of humility. Those who see how sin brings destruction while Jesus brings satisfaction... Those who turn from rejoicing in sin to delighting Jesus as the greatest treasure in the Universe will look to the one who rebuked them as the one who reminded them of Jesus. They will look to you with favor.