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Bunch of brown nosers!

Proverbs 28:23

"He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue.”

The majority of people that I know have encountered a bully at some point in their lives. If they have not, then they have encountered someone with an abrasive and difficult personality at least. With these encounters usually comes trepidation, fear, angst, etc. on the part of those who do not have aggressive personalities. The result is then flattery with the goal of self-preservation. This is very evident in the case of school bullies- they go around and pick on the smaller, younger, and weaker children and take lunch money and so the victim winds up just giving in every time so that they don’t have to be humiliated or hurt. The giving in, however, is the absolute wrong response according to this verse. Lately, especially in the church, there has been a surge of “political correctness” under the guise of “love” which has led to abuses and disrespect in unprecedented numbers. Everywhere you turn in the modern church, everything seems to be acceptable behavior due to, in large part, a misunderstanding of the concept of brotherly love. The church body has been encouraged to just “accept” everyone and everything and this is what they call love. Really, however what is happening is that this wide scale acceptance is just fear. The church is afraid to correct wrong behavior because they don’t want to appear “legalistic” or they don’t want to lose tithe money (at the very least)! The breadth of this understanding is fear!! It is the fear of man!!! The fear of man brings a snare and those who trust in the Lord will be secure according to Proverbs 29:25. 

    So instead of standing up to anything that goes against God with all of our might, the church bows to the will of the wicked one because it really does not believe that God is its source. The verse above states that if we want favor, we rebuke, we do not flatter! This is exactly the opposite of what we see by and large today both in interpersonal relationships and congregational church settings. Herein lies the crux, we, as humans need and desire favor from other humans but when we respond to any situation with a method that seems like “the right thing to do” according to our natural mind, we have placed ourselves at enmity with God. For the natural mind is at enmity with the mind of the Spirit. 

    In these moments, when we are made aware by the Spirit of the living God that some situation is offensive to our Lord or hurtful to His children, we absolutely must be willing to humbly believe what the Lord is instructing us to do is the right thing. We must stand up and rebuke and not accept and flatter! Furthermore, Leviticus 19:17 says this:

 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.”

The notion here is that it is hatred and not love if you allow your neighbor or your brother to remain in sin. You must rebuke them. That being said, I have a neighbor- actually my next-door neighbor- who was born a man and lived as a man for over 60 years and then decided to become a woman. This is demonic and of course sinful. It is the work of the confuser and this person must know the truth. However, every time I attempt to talk with this person, they run from me, so I resort to praying for them more often than I am able to speak directly to them. If, however, the chance will arise, I cannot be hateful when I speak to them. It is true that I am required to tell them the truth about the deceit they are under, but God still loves the human underneath all of that confusion. I too then must love this human. Therefore, rebuke need not be rude or off-putting, but it must be the truth spoken under the grace of God seasoned with salt. 

    In conclusion, if your natural inclination is to “kiss up” to a bully or an abrasive person, you need to check your heart and see if you are operating under the fear of men, seeking the praise of men rather than the praise of God. 

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