A big man and a little man were talking as they sat on a porch. The little man leaned over, felt the big man’s biceps, and said, “If I was as big as you and had muscles like that, I’d go up into the mountain, find the biggest bear I could find, and tear him from limb to limb.” To that, the big man replied, “Well, there’s plenty of little bears up there, too. Why don’t you go find one of them?”
We tend to hold others to higher standards than we impose upon ourselves, don’t we? Yes, we’re experts at knowing what others ought to do, but we aren’t not nearly so adept at doing what we should do. As someone has said, “We should all change problems because everybody knows how to solve everybody else’s problems.”
While there are numerous Bible passages (Proverbs 27:5; Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Timothy 5:20; etc.) that speak of the necessity of providing rebuke when it is needed, we must show wisdom in regards to who to rebuke, when to rebuke, and how to rebuke. Likewise, while there are numerous passages (Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 27:9, etc.) that speak of the value of offering wise counsel when it is needed, we must show wisdom in regards to whom we give counsel, when we give that counsel, and how we go about giving it. What we don’t want to do is come off as pushy know-it-alls whose words never get a hearing because we show no discernment, timing, or tact in how we offer them.
Oh, and there is one more thing you must consider anytime you find yourself about to tell someone else what they should or shouldn’t be doing. If your own life is marked by hypocrisy, your attempts at rebuking and offering counsel aren’t going to resonate much with people who can spot the hypocrisy. Like the little man in my opening illustration, you needn’t expect others to do any bear hunting at your suggestion if you don’t hunt bears yourself.