7 “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
In working through the Proverbs there is a stark contrast between the fool, the scorner, the simple ones and the wise. Having studied this when I was a teenager, I have observed this contrast in people as well as in my own life. The key difference between these people is their willingness to listen and to receive instruction.
Here is the picture, someone you know, a family member, a co-worker, or a friend, messes up; I mean, they really mess up. As a person who cares you go to them to give them instruction so they won’t mess up again. If the person you correct is a scoffer they will turn the whole thing around on you so you leave feeling ashamed. The scoffer does not want instruction but only wants to communicate that they don’t want to be corrected. Suppose the person you correct is fool, one who lives in wickedness, they might come after you to harm you or your reputation for trying to help them. If you have lived long enough, you have been treated this way by foolish people that you tried to help.
What happens when you correct a person who is striving to follow wisdom? According to Solomon, the person who wants wisdom will love you and will increase in their wisdom through the situation. Unfortunately, there seem to be only a few who really want instruction and are thankful for it. Before we get too judgmental let’s look in the mirror of our own lives. How many times have you reacted wrongly to correction? We can justify our reaction by saying that the person did not correct us right or that they had no right to correct us; however: the point is not on the one doing the correction but on how the correction is received. So, the next time you are corrected in any arena of your life, take a deep breath, listen to the one correcting you, and thank them for their correction. Your response will be the response of one seeking wisdom, and you will build your relationship with the person who corrected you.
We spent time this morning and last night talking face to face with our kids and grandkids in Illinois and in California. When my brother-in-law and is wife, Ed and Jan, went to Brazil 33 years ago there was no such technology. Even though we are 10,000 miles away, we can still be in our families lives and in their homes for a little bit of time each week. How thankful we are that when we left Chicago we knew that when we landed we could still see and talk to our family and friends. In missions, this really is a new way to stay connected. I thank God for giving men and women the minds to develop and use all of this.
A woman yesterday, who works in customer service and helped us in a situation, asked me what the difference was between Muslim, Catholic, and Christian. We had a wonderful talk about the difference between works and grace, between a promise of eternal life through sins forgiven and a hope of eternal life after a lifetime of human effort. Pray that the Holy Spirit will prick this woman’s heart about her sin and her need.
Have a great day in the Lord,