The idea of rebuke grates against our flesh. I know that Selena and I neither like receiving it nor giving it… especially as parents! Still, if we are to live wisely in how we disciple our children (and each other), we must learn to not only accept the idea of rebuke, we must *embrace it* and learn to do it well.

C.H. Spurgeon said, “If we never have headaches through rebuking our children, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grow up.” Yikes! Perhaps it’s worth a closer look. What does the Bible say about rebuke? Let’s explore.

1.) Correction keeps hearts soft.

Ignoring sin and disobedience does no good. Beyond the chaos caused by sinful behavior, unchecked sin causes hearts to be hardened. Hebrews says, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb 3:13) When we lovingly and consistently correct our kids, we “exhort” them toward God’s way and not their own.

2.) Rebuke exposes sin for what it is

It’s easy to gloss over sin; we grow weary into minimizing, dismissing, and distracting from what’s really going on. Except, if we have a right view of sin—as rebellion against God—we realize the urgency in calling it out. Paul writes, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Eph 5:11) Would you call your toddler lying about eating their broccoli a “work of darkness”? Probably not. Still, lying is rebellion. As parents, we must discern how to lovingly, persistently correct.

"If we never have headaches through rebuking our children, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grow up."

— C. H. Spurgeon

Read more quotes from C.H. Spurgeon

3.) We are to rebuke with patience

Paul, while instructing Timothy about preaching says, “reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Tim 4:2) What does this say about the manner with which we are to rebuke? With complete patience. Easier said than done!

4.) We are to rebuke AND exhort

The above verse from 2 Timothy includes “exhort” for a reason. The greek word used there means to invite and encourage by coming alongside. When we rebuke our children, we must not do so coldly. Instead, we are to come alongside them, inviting them into obedience to God as the absolute best path for them to take.

Be encouraged today. As you instruct your children, don’t be afraid to rebuke them lovingly and patiently. In fact, embrace rebuke as a valuable tool for keeping their hearts soft toward God and toward you.