“Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning,”
Proverbs 9:8-9, NIV
It’s never easy to receive correction, especially when you have been believing that you’re right! But Proverbs 9 warns us that how we receive correction can be an indicator of how wise we are! For every time that we are corrected is an opportunity to learn and become wiser still.
I soon learnt as a teenager that, contrary to the root of pride that we can all have, there were things I had got wrong – and that if I didn’t receive the correction gladly, I would be on a very slippery downhill slope and that soon there would be a price to pay! I never liked receiving correction, for it showed up my own ignorance, but without it I would never have learned some of life’s most important lessons. Students would never grow wiser, if their teachers marked their schoolwork right when it was wrong. Receiving correction is a vital part of the learning and growing process. And in the school of life we never cease to be students!
But when it comes to correcting others in adult life, we first need to be very discerning of their heart attitude. Our Scripture for today reminds us that if the heart of someone is to mock you, they will not only refuse to receive the correction, but they will actually hate you in their hearts. And hatred is a murderous weapon which lies at the root of much evil intent. You can’t reason with someone who is motivated by hatred and, sadly, they usually have to learn life’s lessons the hard way. Wisdom says that sometimes we have to wait until a person is ready to listen before bringing correction.
So, how do we react when we sense the Lord is wanting to correct us? Are we ready to listen? Do we welcome His invitation when He says, as in the words of Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool”. Or do we resist the loving entreaties of the Lord to talk it all through together when our decisions and our conscience are challenged? In verses 19 and 20 of chapter 1, Isaiah goes on to say that “if you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land” but warns us of the serious consequences of rebelling against His word. A wise man will listen to the Lord and choose to walk in His ways.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for both the challenge and the encouragement of Your word. Forgive me, Lord, for those times when I have responded badly to necessary correction. Help me to receive Your correction gladly that I may grow wiser and know more of your blessing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.