Word for Today – Titus 2:15

Exhort and Reprove with All Authority

“Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority” ( Titus 2:15 NRSV)

What a can of worms Christian exhortation and reproof is these day! There are many words and phrases that describe that which Christians are to declare: not politically correct, narrow-minded, hater, extremist, and wacko, just to name a few.

How did standing for Christian values come to be considered so heinous in the world that God created? The easy answer is the fall of man in the Garden of Eden so many years ago (Genesis 3). But more specifically, the Fall caused man to reject Jesus and, therefore, relationship with God and his authority. Titus 2:14 reads:

“He [Jesus] it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from iniquity and purity for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds” (NRSV).

Considering that God’s influence is being severely limited in our society and perverted in many of the churches professing¬† to follow him, it makes sense that fewer people have the opportunity to experience the redemption Jesus offers. That equates to fewer people zealous for God’s good deeds.

Enter a Christian’s command to exhort and reprove. Enter the “can of worms” and the ubiquitous name calling. I am not a trained counselor, pastor, or Bible scholar, so I can only share how I traipse through the worms that sometimes slither and squirm on the path stretched before me.

Kids

When it comes to my own children, exhortation and reproof is not always popular, but it is pretty straight forward: it is my role as a Christian mother. My children are both college age and, although I’ve not been perfect, my husband and I are seeing the positive fruits of our labors.

When it comes to others’ kids . . . it gets a tad more tricky. However, I find that Sunday School teachers, youth ministers, and others serving in mentoring-type roles have the built-in opportunity to authoritatively approach children other than their own.

Peers

When I encounter Christian peers who disagreed with or act contrary to godly principles, I don’t jump in with guns blazing and administer wild west Bible thumping justice. If I’m teaching, I explain God’s perspective. If it is a casual setting, I quietly disagree; nothing less, nothing more. However, if someone who disagrees with (or doesn’t understand) God’s Word opens the door to deeper conversation, I walk through it holding hands with God to hopefully enlighten them with his perspective. (Not that I understand everything, but God provides opportunities he knows I’m capable of helping with.)

As Christians we are called to exhort and reprove with all authority. That call goes hand-in-hand with being the salt of the earth that Jesus talked about in Matthew 5:13. Sometimes being a salt shaker requires us to wade through a bunch of slimy worms, but if we exhort and reproof others with grace and love when the right opportunity exists, maybe there will be less worms and more changed hearts.

Word for Today: Exhort and reprove with all authority, grace, and love.

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 14th, 2011 at 4:57 pm and is filed under Titus, Word for the Day. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

 

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