The rebuke of the Pharisees
42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.
44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”
45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”
46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
The need for rebuke
Saint John Chrysostom, Homiliest at Matthew, 3rd and 4th Homily, in Church Fathers and Writers (1994), vol. 23, pp. 230-231
`All are for me tale, shadow and dream ! No one of the rich from the earth can defend me in the afterlife when I will be blamed and accused that I didn`t revenge with the due firmness the laws of God. This is what made that old wonderful man, Eli be lost although he had an unblemished life. However because he overlooked those who violated the laws of God was punished with his children and received the most terrible punishment ( Kings 4, 1-19) If Eli the priest was so terribly punished because he hadn`t used with his children the due firmness, although he was compelled to this by the natural love for his offspring, what forgiveness will I receive when I am not compelled by such a love and I spoil everything because of the flatteries? Therefore in order not to perish you and me altogether, please let yourself be convinced by my words. Be your own searchers and accountants of your lives.
Saint John Chrysostom, Homilies at Matthew, Homily LVI, V, in Church Fathers and Writers (1994), vol. 23, p. 655
I know many hear with displeasure these words. But what would be the use of silence? If I kept silence and I didn`t upset you at all with my words, it would be impossible to save you from the punishment with silence on the contrary silence would increase the punishment; and a silence like this would bring punishment not only to you but also to me. What is the use if pleasant words if they don`t help at works and harm you instead? What is the gain if I please you with my words but I upset you in reality? What is the gain if I please your hearing but I torment your soul? That is why it is necessary to upset you here on earth so that we would not be condemned in the afterlife
Saint Basil the Great, Small rules, Î. 4, in Church Fathers and Writers (1989), vol. 18, p. 318
„(…) Unmerciful is not that one who rebukes but the one who keeps silence and unmerciful is also that one who keeps the poison inside the one who was bitten by a poisonous snake not the one who takes it out. Who doesn`t rebuke wastes love as well. As the Scripture relates it who spares his rod hates his sons and who loves them is careful to discipline them (Proverbs 13, 24).”