2 wildly different ways of expressing displeasure with someone. Which characterizes you?


List 1

  • Rebuke, reprove, admonish, exhort, confront, judge fairly, warn, talk directly and righteous indignation

List 2

  • Attack, criticize, accuse, moralize, condemn, be judgmental, threaten, talk aggressively and self-righteous hostility.

David Powlison in Good and Angry says,

Do these lists sound rather similar? How are they alike? How are they different? In fact, they are as different as heaven and hell. List 1 gives voice to goodness and love when are we concerned to address and redress a real problem. List gives voice to evil and hate in the act condemning. But, unfortunately for the clarity of our mind and emotions, both lists tend to call up the same connotations. When people say they “rebuke,” they most often attack. When they “confront,” they most often condemn. When they “judge,” they are most often judgmental. Both lists sound aggressive, as if both lists express different ways of “getting it off my chest” and “letting you have.”

It’s true that both lists have something wrong in view. And both lists can express the emotion of anger. In other words, they are both on the spectrum of displeasure toward whatever is going on. But the motivation, the intentions, and the way of coming across are opposite. When List 1 is done right, you act in the image of Jesus. You work to redeem. When you do List 2, you act out in the image of Satan. You murder verbally.

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