Rebuking

WHENEVER one learns something of the teachings of Christian Science, he begins to look upon rebuking very differently from what used to be his wont. In former days evil seemed very real to him; he believed with the world in general that good and evil were equally true; and he thought, moreover, that both good and evil were essentially personal. Consequently, he lauded what he called the good man and condemned the evildoer. Whoever was in error, whoever wandered from the path of rectitude, was liable to rebuke. Sometimes the rebuke was mild; often it was delivered with a sting of anger or bitterness behind it. And many a time the rebuker wondered afterwards why the effort had not been more reformative, why the wrongdoer did not show more contrition after the exposure of his evil doing!

Now, it is true that rebuking has its legitimate place in Christian warfare. Paul admonished Timothy to "reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." The Greek word translated "rebuke" in the King James Version of the Bible also means to "charge directly." Hence Paul considered that it might be necessary for Timothy to have to rebuke certain errors or "charge directly" those converts to Christianity who came under his supervision, with their mistakes or faults. But notice the apostle's qualifying words, "with all longsuffering and doctrine," or "teaching," as the Revised Version has it. The abrupt or harsh rebuke was neither sanctioned nor advised by Paul; the angry rebuke was unchristian, and would defeat the purposes of good; the straightforward charge must be made, with patience and with firmness and with the desire to correct, since to correct is always an aim in teaching. Referring to the method of rebuking of Christ Jesus, Mrs. Eddy says in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 53), "He rebuked sinners pointedly and unflinchingly, because he was their friend; hence the cup he drank." Jesus was their friend! Therein lay the secret of his success. He was the friend of all mankind, of rich and poor, high and low, righteous and sinner alike. Never once did the greatly humble Nazarene stand aloof from humanity in need of his aid; neither did he fail to rebuke the evil in the thought of those suffering from its supposititious presence, thereby healing them through his knowledge of evil's nothingness.

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Among the Churches
March 10, 1923
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