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Reproach February 25, 2011

Posted by daniel ayad in Behaviour, Biblical.

If judgment is a result of the way the advice or reproach should be given, one should know how to do it:

  • You may have the right or be under obligation to advise or reproach, but let it be with politeness, humbleness and love[1].

If you reproach with a spirit of pride and arrogance or with disdain and disregard, this will never be acceptable. If you want to advise or rebuke someone it must be done politely, humbly, and lovingly.


I am unaware of anybody changing their ways willingly and for the long term, because of a person advising in pride and arrogance. That approach will never produce change from the heart.

Probably a major problem in Christianity is the perception that Christians reproach people’s sins in a proud and arrogant way. Unfortunately there are many who let down the name of Christ by saying harsh and critical judgment of others, void of love and humility.

I remember hearing atheists say that they will never convert to Christ because of some Christians’ proud attitude and arrogance. Some atheists view Christians to reproach saying “if you don’t believe in Christ you’re going to hell, your sins are many as you lead a bad life!” This reproach is unacceptable.

Regardless of the fact that people who do not believe in Christ may perish, reproaching with pride saying that you are going to hell is the worst way you can go about it.

I am not saying that sinners don’t need reproach, they do. But remember that you are also a sinner, and you would like to hear advice full of love and humility.

Here is an approach I believe to be acceptable for reproach: ‘You know how I love you, and how I care for your reputation. I am not comfortable at all at your (such and such) behaviour. I feel it would do you harm; your enemies may take it to say so and so. Try and avoid that and correct what you did by doing so and so’.

The above is very different to ‘how could you do that? How did your conscience accept it? Is this a reasonable behaviour? Is this a behaviour of a respectable person? You are so and so’.

A good example of reproach with love and humbleness is Abigail to David. She fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground while saying “On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be! And please let your maidservant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your maidservant” (1 Sam 25: 24). She didn’t even say a word of criticism yet, but David could tell she was polite, humble and loving.

If you talk to someone for his salvation but he got angry and did not accept your words, it may be that your advice was void of love and humbleness.

It is very easy for a person to realise whether the person reproaching him is compassionate or is despising and scornful towards him. The spirit of the talk, the tone, the words and feelings, these are the things that have impression on one.      

[1] H.H Pope Shenouda, Judge not others, pg 24, 1997


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