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Session 6

When to encourage and when to rebuke

Read: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Titus 2:11-15

When we love someone, we want what's best for them. As a result, we often hold those we love to a higher standard than anyone else. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, "There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love." 

We see truth play out in the discipline of a loving parent. Remember the look on your parents’ faces when you let them down or misbehaved? The physical pain of discipline fades, but even as you age, I bet you can still see the look of disappointment in their eyes.

Parents who love their children want them to make good decisions. They celebrate when their kids do the right thing and discipline their kids when they're wrong. Discipline is never fun — just ask any parent. But without love and discipline, we would never learn right from wrong.

Just as we mature emotionally through love and discipline, we also grow up spiritually through love and discipline. Encouragement and rebuke are both necessary for us to mature in our faith. When we're sinning, we need other people to love us enough to tell us. And when we see sin in the lives of fellow Christians, we need to love them enough to correct them. Fear can prevent us from holding one another accountable to what we say we believe. But, we have to be more concerned about the damage sin can do than we are about the difficulty of an awkward conversation.

Titus 2:15 tell us to “...encourage and rebuke with all authority.” We are responsible for encouraging one another in the faith. We also have the authority to rebuke one another when necessary. We love our friends and family best when we help them identify, confess, and walk away from sin.


  • Who cheers you on when you take a next step in your walk with Jesus? When was the last time you cheered on someone else?
  • Who is willing to correct you when you're wrong and show you a better way? How has your life been better because of it?
  • What fears, if any, do you have about letting people get close enough to hold you accountable? Tell God your fears and ask Him for opportunities to experience accountability into your life.

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