Bible Reading: Provebrs 15.3-11
The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good.
A soothing tongue is a tree of life,
But perversion in it crushes the spirit.
A fool rejects his father’s discipline,
But he who regards reproof is sensible.
Great wealth is in the house of the righteous,
But trouble is in the income of the wicked.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge,
But the hearts of fools are not so.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
But He loves one who pursues righteousness.
Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way,
He who hates reproof will die.
Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord,
How much more the hearts of men!
Have you ever known a child who enjoys being corrected or disciplined? Come to think of it, I can’t think of anyone at any age that likes being called out, at least in the moment. I remember vividly several occasions in my years at the Ridge when a brother pulled me aside to offer some needed correction. The NASB translates this word as “reproof” here in Proverbs 15, but I can tell you that doesn’t make it an easier pill to swallow.
In one instance when I was still a newlywed, we went to dinner with another couple. As my wife was sharing an experience she had serving on a church committee, I interjected several comments to help “set the record straight”. After dinner, my friend asked me if I was aware how my words and tone had conveyed disrespect to my wife. I had been an oblivious, insensitive young husband. Did I need to hear it? Yes. Did I like hearing it from him at that moment? No. But I listened out of respect for the person handing out this reprimand in love. Down the road, our friendship grew stronger and that brother helped me become a little wiser.
It seems a little harsh for Solomon to say in verse 10 that, “He who hates reproof will die.” However, when we reject God’s merciful correction we are setting our course for destruction. We are, in effect, hardening our heart (Ephesians 4:18), and that’s the only kind of heart God won’t work with. We are all born blind because of sin and we must receive the conviction (correction) of the Holy Spirit and then repent in order to live for the Lord.
So, the next time you’re corrected by God’s word (2 Timothy 3:16) or by a brother or sister in the Lord (Luke 17:3), how will you respond? Remember the wise words of Solomon that it may sting but we desperately need it and it is ultimately for our good.
Memory Verse: There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14.12