“Do not correct a fool or he will hate you; correct a wise man and he will appreciate you.” – Proverbs 9:8
Do you love God? I’m sure you do.
Do you love your church pastor?
Ah, maybe you have to think about that question some more. You see, too many Christians do not fully recognize that their local church pastor or elder is God’s representative and spiritual authority over your life. They have been given the responsibility to look after you…to teach you and disciple you and protect you from straying away from God’s flock or making mistakes that will hurt your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Your local church pastor is your overseer (1 Peter 5:12). His is the ruling shepherd in the church and is accountable to God for you under the “Chief Shepherd” Jesus Christ. Their job is to feed you the Word of God, guide you in your spiritual walk, and guard over your souls.
It is also a pastor’s job to correct you when you’re doing something wrong. Some believers don’t like this part of a pastor’s function, but it is a biblical fact. Reproof and rebuke is often necessary for all of us. When your pastor reproves you, don’t get angry at him or falsely accuse him of being unloving. If he cares enough to correct you, he is demonstrating the same love that God has for you:
“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son [or daughter] He receives.” – Hebrews 12:6
The Greek word used here for “chastening” is paideia. It not only carries the nuances of “discipline,” “rebuke,” and “correction,” but also the positive connotation of “training” and “guiding instruction” by a loving parent to bring their son or daughter to mature adulthood.
When a pastor chastens us for something that needs to be corrected in our lives, we should do the right and wise thing and accept his correction with humility. We should recognize that He loves us and desires to see us achieve our fullest potential in Christ.
“Reprove not a fool, lest he hate you.” The fool, on the other hand, does not respond well to reproof or discipline. He faints when being rebuked and becomes angry and resentful towards his pastor or God. The fool is destined to never learn from his mistakes or reach any spiritual maturity. Some are so prideful they will actually leave the church when reproved and fall away from God.
”… rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.”
The wise Christian doesn’t get their feelings hurt when reproved by their pastor because he regards the Lord’s discipline as evidence of his pastor’s love and concern. He sees God’s grace and commitment to us as our Father in his actions.
” Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11
When we receive correction from those in church authority – such as a pastor or elder, instead of getting mad, let us remember the admonition of Jesus who declared that whom He loves, He rebukes. Instead of sulking in self-pity, let us repent quickly and learn to love reproof.
” As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.“ – Revelation 3:19
– Luis Josephus