Blessed Are They Who Reprove Boldly

“Blessed are they who reprove boldly,
for they shall be called the sons of God.”

Not quite the way you remember reading the Beatitudes, is it?

The zeitgeist of our generation mandates tolerance. If you boldly reprove people for their sins, they regurgitate the only Bible verse they know, tersely reminding you to “Judge not!” Therefore, you don’t dare to reprove the liar, the lecher, or the looter, lest you provoke them to quote Scripture out of context.

Never mind the fact that Jesus requires us to confront people with their sins. Jesus also is called the Prince of Peace, and confrontations just don’t seem very peaceful. Why anger people by telling them they are wrong? Why be a troublemaker?

Their thought process seems to go something like this:

Jesus said we are supposed to be peacemakers. Jesus said not to judge. So, basically, I do my thing, and you do your thing. As long as you aren’t hurting anybody, just do what you want. The moment you start reproving somebody, the moment you start telling people they are “wrong”, you destroy the peace. So relax. Be a peacemaker.

Indeed, Jesus did encourage us to be peacemakers. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

But who is the real peacemaker? The one who lets people do what they want, or the one who reproves them boldly?

In Scripture, the book of Proverbs answers this question in an eye-opening way:

“he that reproves boldly is a peacemaker”
(Proverbs 10:10 – LXX)

The one who is always pleasant may appear peaceful on the surface. But if a person allows sin to fester, unchallenged, then he is no peacemaker. It is only a matter of time before the stench of that sin erupts, eventually causing trouble for everybody.

A true peacemaker is one who reproves boldly, scouring out sins, plucking them out by their roots, thereby providing an opportunity for repentance and healing. The initial reproval may seem troublesome, but once the infection is dealt with, the wound is able to heal up nicely. Thus the stage is set for a future of peace and tranquility.

If you had an operable tumor, what remedy would you prefer? Do you want every trace of cancer cut out and removed? Or would you prefer an asprin and a band-aid? The second approach may seem more peaceful. But only the surgery will succeed in making you cancer-free.

Why should I boldly reprove people for their sins?
Because I have chosen to be a peacemaker.

~

For those who are unfamiliar with this passage in the 10th chapter of Proverbs, it is important to remember that the English language has been granted (or subjected to) numerous translations of the Bible. We have the KJV, the NIV, the RSV, the NASB, the OSB, and countless other contributions to the alphabet soup. Some of the translations are good, and some are not so good. So it is in other languages, as well. For many reasons, I believe the Septuagint version of the Old Testament is more trustworthy than the Masoretic Text. The quotation given from Proverbs 10:10 is a translation from the Septuagint, as can be seen here:  http://ebible.org/eng-Brenton/PRO10.htm

For those who are interested in reading more about the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, consider this article:  Masoretic Text vs. Original Hebrew

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About Fr Joseph Gleason

I serve as a priest at Christ the King Orthodox Mission in Omaha, Illinois, and am blessed with eight children and one lovely wife. I contribute to On Behalf of All, a simple blog about Orthodox Christianity. I also blog here at The Orthodox Life.
This entry was posted in LXX - Proverbs 10:10, Masoretic Text, Matthew 5:1-12, Septuagint. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Blessed Are They Who Reprove Boldly

  1. Jeremiah says:

    I think the best kind of peacemaker is one who boldly reproves their own sins first and foremost. Otherwise, we become nothing other than a bullhorn man screaming at people about their sins and blind to our own. If we haven’t even begun to remove the plank from our own eyes (which is a life-long process for most of us), then we are not fit to remove the specks from others.

    • The necessity of personal repentance does not relieve us from the duty of boldly reproving our brothers for their sins. Multiple times in Scripture, God clearly tells us that we need to reprove others, not merely ourselves.

      And you do not have to be free from every conceivable sin, to boldly reprove others who are in sin. The only thing necessary is that you have repented of the sin which you are reproving.

      For example, if your internet viewing habits are pure, then you have a duty to confront your brother if he has fallen prey to pornography. You can (and should) confront your brother on this sin, even if there is some other sin (such as gluttony) which you yourself are still struggling with.

      For more information: https://theorthodoxlife.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/judge-not/

      • Jeremiah says:

        I think of the example of Peter being rebuked by Paul. One dynamic there was that they loved one another. I do not think we should ever reproach anyone unless we genuinely love that person and are certain we are not being moved by any passion. Otherwise, we fall into a greater sin than the one we are reproaching.

        Though it isn’t fun, I greatly appreciate the rebukes of my spiritual father and others that I know. Knowledge of their love for me makes the rebuke much easier to swallow. Most of us were not called to slap heretics like St Nicholas 🙂

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