The one who corrects a mocker will bring dishonor on himself; the one who rebukes a wicked man will get hurt. Don’t rebuke a mocker, or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Instruct a wise man, and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man, and he will learn more. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by Wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, you are wise for your own benefit; if you mock, you alone will bear [the consequences]. Prov 9:6-12 (HCSB)
Certainly as a child of God you are sensitive to those around you who are not living their lives in ways that are pleasing to God. That is the spiritual gift of discernment. However, nowhere in God’s Word is there instruction that calls you to exalt yourself to the position of being responsible for correcting a mocker or rebuking a wicked person. Yet, like so many proclaimed Christians, you may feel empowered and compelled to volunteer to do the Lord’s work for Him. However, why would you or anyone feel it necessary to correct or rebuke anyone? Do you know God so intimately that you know what His will is for that person? Do you know what God is already doing in that person’s life to change his or her heart? So why would you feel compelled to do so anyway? Is it possible that by correcting and rebuking others you make yourself feel better about your shortcomings before the Lord? Does it make you feel superior and somehow closer to God?
Consider for a moment what the results of such actions are: Hurt feelings and bitterness by a person God has commanded you to love! How many people that you have recognized as expressing an arrogant and wicked lifestyle have you been able to change? Frankly, all you can accomplish is to stir up their wrong attitudes even more.
However, for you who desire to be God’s agent of mercy, He says in many places in the Bible that you are to reach out to fellow brothers and sisters and encourage and instruct them. A Christian under the Spirit’s direction is to always be humble and receptive to loving correction and instruction. A Christian under the Spirit’s guidance fears the Lord, and is open to getting to know God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, and appreciates a godly person’s interest in their life enough to listen to you.
Consider for yourself: Which action serves your own purpose and places you in jeopardy in your relationship with the Lord, and which action would be blessed by the Lord? Therefore, think carefully before you respond to someone. Ask yourself, are this person’s actions offending me or the Lord? Godly instruction and correction brings life, but personal inspired mocking risks judgment upon yourself, not the person you are compelled to rebuke.
And do not try to justify your actions by some holy motivation like so many self-proclaimed Christians attempt. Why? Because, who you will be mocking is not the person you think, but God, Himself, and as Paul warned: “God cannot be mocked! What you reap, you will sow” (Gal. 6:7-8) Thus, before you act, consider whether you are pleasing the Lord or yourself by the actions you are feeling compelled to do.
He said to His disciples, Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one they come through! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ˜I repent,” you must forgive him. Luke 17:1-4 (HCSB)