Praise in public, rebuke in private…


1 Timothy 5:19 Never accept any accusation against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest also may stand in fear.

Here again Paul is giving advice to his young protege Timothy. “As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all…” got my attention. Paul is not suggesting this is the will of God, but rather how Paul has dealt with a certain situation. He wrote earlier that women should, effectively, be seen not heard and should never have authority over a man. Obviously we have very different ideas about women’s roles in our day – for which I’m grateful.

Here again Paul recommends something we might call into question in our current understandings of spiritual leadership. My experience suggests rebuke or correction is better done in private. It eliminates a humiliation factor that can get in the way of someone turning things around. Praise in public, but rebuke in private. Lord give us leaders the wisdom we need to handle difficult and sensitive situations with grace and tact. Amen.

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