Here is an idea I’ve been working on for a few years, that I am taking notes to hopefully make an interesting YT video one day. For those bored enough to read, please comment if you would add to or change any of my ideas.. I’m very open to feedback and discussion on some of these ideas, because that is part of the fascination.
The Test Rebuke
Many times when we are rebuked, we need to change, sometimes quickly, sometimes seasonally and timely, always with God’s help. I am not talking about True Rebukes, in which we need to turn and change. I am addressing what I call a Test Rebuke, which will weed out the immature or weak conscience people, who will begrudgingly, confusedly, or grievously be forced into responding. I am trying to explain it does not always require such a response.
Perhaps people who are most confused by these ideas are the inexperienced or people who are bent toward harsh over-correction in their life as a habit or personal teaching method.
The Wisdom Answer toward the Test Rebuke is to be in repentance and humility as a lifestyle, so that you are not confused when the faux rebuke comes. When it comes, you will recognize it as different than the usual need to change, adjust, turn around, and fix things that you could not previously see. The test rebuke will often hit you at a gut level and require an immediate emotional response. It is designed that way as part of the test.
The Answer is remain calm, do not answer quickly, be slow to anger, listen and take notes, and practice postponing your emotions. Do not be easily provoked, angered, or offended by a test rebuke. This may be a sort of Life Hack or cheat to warn a person ahead of time, but I think being warned a little will not remove the purpose if the Test Rebuke is sent your way.
Here are some warning signs associated with the test rebuke:
1) IT’S NOT PERSONAL – Don’t take Everything as a personal rebuke. Some are false. Some are not aimed at you at all. Some were aimed at you, but do not apply in your situation, are out of context, or are not congruent with your broader situation.
The test rebuke is classically and intrinsically designed to be generally painful to everyone, so that the more you give the kneejerk reaction, the more you are in need of some form of adjustment, and the more you analyse and keep your mouth shut, the less you are in need of any form of adjustment.
Adjustment required may or may not be related to the original rebuke. A test rebuke is designed to bring out all sorts of weaknesses, very possibly not even related to the original issue addressed. These rebukes will seem by design inflammatory or accusatory. Therefore be prepared ahead of time that not all rebukes are intended to personally ‘fit’ you.
2) HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE – Be careful if the one rebuking has an axe to grind or is emotional or spiteful. Be on the lookout for things not making sense, then you may piece the context clues of what is being said to whom and why. If there are attacks going on, someone is usually hurt from an attack on themselves, which has nothing to do with you. It’s good to keep your distance.
3) IT’S ONLY A TEST – Be careful any time you are made to feel overly defensive, emotional, and you want to give an immediate response. (Sometimes immediate CALM clarification can defuse a lot of answers, but I am talking about a fight being picked.) A test rebuke is like a form of spiritual boot camp training, and will be extreme to make a point. Do not take it as a personal offense.
4) GROWTH NOT HATRED – Just because you are challenged does not mean that you are assumed or viewed as non redeemable, condemned or reprobate. That is probably not the point. So don’t act like it is. Do not automatically associate a GENERALIZED CHALLENGE with a PERSONAL CONDEMNATION.
5) DON’T MISS THE WHOLE POINT – Train and remind yourself to not let the sharpness, harshness, or extremeness of a rebuke or test cause you to miss the whole point or give up. Some tests in your life may seem very sharp and bitter for different reasons. It will help to prepare ahead of time and know you may see this, and how to answer and move on properly when it does happen.
Here are some tactical responses that can help see if you are being attacked, if you are accidentally in someone else’s line of fire, or if you are only being tested, and no real response necessary.
Throw an attacker off by calm, logical and non emotional questions or responses. This is a way of not claiming any part of the rebuke, even if it was obviously aimed your way. You don’t claim it. Because it doesn’t belong to you. You have logical questions. It makes no sense.
Remember that unless you are calmly clarifying for someone who MIGHT actually be confused (this may require an immediate response to immediately diffuse a situation), unless clarification is needed, you do not really have to answer, respond or defend, other than to show that you are not accepting the attack as legitimate.
If you suspect that the rebuke is a test or training, rather than an attack, then remain perfectly calm, take plenty of time out, analyse, and if a response is required, treat it as a ‘teachable moment’ in which we are all learning life lessons. This will work, regardless of the intention. If it is training, you will gain value. If it is an attack rebuke, then you are demonstrating that you in no way accept it as such, and may even confuse the attacker.
Remember that when you are rebuked with no clear reason, some parts of it might accidentally fit, but that does not mean that the entire rebuke, nor the spirit in which it was aimed at you, actually FIT in any way. You can take the meat of it for your own good if you so choose, but feel free to spit out the bones.
Some Dangers of a Test Rebuke:
Some quality lessons may be learned of such a rebuke or testing. If you become immediately defensive or offended, then you may miss anything of value. In the process of reaction and defense, you can waste time and effort, not react wisely, hurt or ruin reputations or relationships, or not proceed in a way productive, helpful, or efficient for your life. You may be so offended by the tone, that you miss the opportunity to make important corrections. You would do better to partial discount as appropriate, use what you can, calmly analyze, and take notes for later.
As I said earlier a test rebuke may be in the form of a spiritual learning moment, a humility test, a maturity test, a wisdom test, or a philosophical challenge. In these cases, it will by nature seem very extreme. This is because it is DESIGNED to challenge EVERYONE.
Examples may be the teaching to turn the other cheek. People may be tempted to challenge with an extreme counter example such as a small elderly woman being beaten by a gang of thugs. Rather than accepting a teaching of sacrifice, example, and witness to deeper spiritual principles of turning the cheek, we might jump to endless what-if scenarios.
Another example is to forgive your brother 70×7. We might be tempted to counter challenge that noone can ever LEAVE an abusive situation, but they must stay 490 times and allow the abuse with no attempt at accountability? Jumping to extreme examples that miss the point and solidify any offense that needs to be avoided.
These are extreme challenges given (in my opinion) made deliberately extreme enough to challenge EVERYONE who reads them. This is why it seems extreme, and we can endlessly come up with examples that seem like surely we should not actually follow the test as succinctly as it is given for EVERY single case?
Walk Away and Never Come Back
Stop Listening to Any Wisdom, Rebukes or Correction
Argue Circumstantial and What If Scenarios Endlessly
Be Triggered Snowflake (lol sorry had to)
Feel Utterly Condemned or Accused in Hatred
Get Defensive, Puffed Up, Prideful
Do all the Above – Immediately
Recognize Philosophical and Spiritual Depth
Analyse, Seek, Knock, Ask, Dig respectfully and humbly
Quick to Hear, Slow to Answer
Understand the Audience Requires a ‘Megaphone’ sometimes
Noone is Perfect, and we can all Learn Lessons
Commit to Learn to Love the Lord More
Commit to not be Pointlessly Offended
Commit to use this to walk in the right direction in the end
Avoid the Kneejerk Reaction of the Masses (broad way)
Refuse the Cheap Immature Route (offense, disgust, defense)
Take any Lesson or Analogy in Stride
Do not necessarily take everything personal
Learn to know what fits you and what doesn’t
When you live prepared to change quickly from error, and welcoming warnings about evil, then the Test Rebuke will be mostly a chance to reflect and learn, rather than a confusion.
Again, when addressing a large mass of humanity, the examples, analogies, or parables can seem extreme to get the proper attention and cause the correct level of response. The test will determine which side you will be on, when all is said and done. Will you commit to obey, seek the Lord, and seek the right paths? Will you use it as an excuse to leave truth, or to say we do not have to really literally ever try to obey the Lord?
As I said, I have worked on these ideas for a while now, because I am very sensitive to things being right and just. A sudden extreme rebuke/test can immediately throw me off into defense mode or, when it’s extreme enough, I even unnecessarily grieve for everyone around me.
I am detail oriented and can get lost in the small picture. I have been trained to be more critical and black and white thinking all my life, rather than spectrum, big picture, or balanced with certain kinds of understanding. For me, the Test Rebuke helps me stretch and grow in these weak areas, and hopefully help someone else while I’m at it.