Christianity carries too much kindness to the extent where sometimes we think that we see the wrong and do nothing in front of it. Actually, dealing with things in modesty and smoothness doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take a strong position when needed. Therefore, the Holy Book spoke a lot about reproaching. It is written that the Lord: “began to reproach the cities in which most of his works of power had taken place, because they had not repented” (Matthew 11: 20). Warning the mistaken, therefore, might reach severe blaming.
And for the faithful not to be annoyed from the remarks of the responsible, Paul doesn’t only ask the bishop to preach but to also “rebuke those who oppose the word” (Titus 1: 9). Rebuking could be a part of the sermon, according to the occasion and subject, because he, who loves, disciplines. What kind of love doesn’t target reformation? And here we mention John the Baptist who used reproaching with Herod, for the issue of Herodias, although the king was simply listening to him. The loving brother wants to expose his mistakes in front of his friend and confess so that these mistakes go to the top of his soul and don’t stay hidden deep down. Paul said concerning this: “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light” (Ephesians 5: 13). We don’t believe in a friendship in which my mistakes and yours are both hidden and not revealed. This is not a friendship. This is a plot against truth.
A person might reform himself without the help of an instructor. However, man usually loves his sin as he destroys himself. Sometimes he might know what he is destroying, and prefers its destruction over its restoration. We cannot see someone falling into hell and not help him to ascend.
You might think that you shouldn’t blame a person that was wrong towards you in order not to seem annoying and you might also decide to stay silent towards his action because it saddened you. However, the Lord says: “If your brother sins, rebuke him” (Luke 17: 3). Matthew also says that but with a weaker tone: “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you” (18: 15). Why should you rebuke? Because you recognized his sin and you shouldn’t reveal it in order not to turn into gossip. The fact that the sinner disturbed you, hurt and harmed you or caused you bitterness is not the reason to rebuke him. Your self is not what should concern you in this case, and the issue is not an issue of self dignity. You should renounce yourself and your wound. The important thing for you is the other that hurt himself while hurting you. You are concerned with his salvation from his evil and not with your salvation from grief. You are sad for his situation. And this is our philosophy of love that includes the love for enemies and our interest in their salvation.
It is important not to get emotional if you rebuked someone, because anger takes away the benefit from this reprimand. Anger indicates that you are interested in your wound and not in the harm that happened in the soul of the mistaken. In this sense, you shouldn’t be harsh and shouldn’t curse the other because cursing is not rebuking. Show the wrong things and reveal the nature of the mistake so that he recognizes the importance of what he did.
After that, “If he repented, forgive him” as it is enough for you if he came back to God. And From God, he shall come back to you.
Translated by Mark Najjar
Original Text: “وبِّخ واغفر” –Raiati no9- 27.02.2000Continue reading