Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12
5 Now we ask you,brothers and sisters,to acknowledge those who work hard among you,who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. (NIV)
If we are really honest,none of us likes being criticised. In our better moments we recognise it may be necessary,valid,and helpful. But it is usually not something we embrace.
So when those who lead us in our churches offer admonition,we may take it the wrong way. We may believe these leaders are there to make our life what we want it to be,to do things our way. As long as they play our game we support them. But when they dare to rebuke us we become self-pitying and resentful.
Of course leaders can rebuke wrongly and too many display bullying tendencies. Yet this doesn’t negate the responsibility they have for correcting us. They are to help keep us on the right track. Idly standing by while others take wrong steps is not loving or kind though it may appear to be. A true leader will need to admonish and criticise at times-just as they themselves need such things.
It seems from our text that admonition is part of caring. Simply being nice is not enough for a Christian leader. Bad shepherds simply let the sheep do as they please. Good shepherds keep an eye on their sheep and guard them from dangers. Giving constructive criticism is one task of a good shepherd. Receiving it is one task of a wise sheep.