“But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;” (2nd Peter 2:12)
This is what it seems like when I attempt to speak to someone who will just not listen when the truth is expounded to them, it is in a sense like attempting to tell our dogs they cannot have something, they cannot comprehend every word spoken to them. ‘Suppertime,’ ‘treat,’ ‘No’, ‘walk,’ these words they know full well, but most words are completely foreign to them.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2nd Tim. 4:2)
We should always, or at least when the smallest amount of doubt is present, start with correction, and always in a way that exhibits love. The benefit of the doubt must be taken into consideration and correction may be the only necessary step needed. But if not, if that person you are speaking to refuses correction, refuses to believe and accept truth, then reproving must come next.
Here you must be well versed in the relevant Scripture verses and the context of the subject matter, and here also love must be the foundation, for it is here where pride can gain a foothold in your life. You know the truth, they do not, but that does not make you better than them.
“For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1st Cor. 4:7)
Remember, Spiritual discernment is a blessing from the Lord, it is never to be used as a way to set you above your peers or any that you may meet. But reproving requires, shall we say, a sterner approach to the subject matter at hand, in love but with firm truth and the conviction of the knowledge not that you are right, and they are wrong, but that the Word of God is right.
Rebuking, even if done in love, will be viewed by that person as just what it is, an open rebuke against them, they have been proven to be incorrect in their assessment of whatever particular Spiritual matter that is the topic of the conversation, and they must be made to see that truth. Here, if they have not already, they will put up their defensive mechanisms, they will regale you in anger, they will stand their ground even when the Scriptures have proven them wrong. And you will know the truth of Galatians 4:16, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”
Brute beasts, human brute beasts fit for destruction are filled with pride, consumed with vainglory and deceived beyond what they can see. These are the same swine we are not to cast our pearls before, many, perhaps most of them are those the Almighty has given over to a reprobate mind, those who will die in their sins believing they had the truth.
There can be great harm in showing a man the truth, many who serve the Lord Jesus Christ have died at the hands of these brute beasts. But there is also a danger to us beyond that, and if you will recall why the thorn was put in Paul’s side, you will understand that danger.
We speak to all we meet for the glory of God, even the wicked, even the brute beasts, those vessels fitted for destruction, and always and only from the truths of the Word of God.
Leave it at that, when you offer those truths, whether correcting, reproving or rebuking, always leave it at that. Let the Word of God speak for itself.