How do you Respond to Rebuke?

Scripture: Proverbs 9:7-9, ‘Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. 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.’

 

Observations: These three verses belong as a single block. They are divided into 2 sections of three stanzas. The first section has to do with the person who mocks. We don’t use the phrase ‘mocker’ much anymore, but basically it refers to a person who ridicules or scorns another. The second section is about a wise man, who is compared with the ‘mocker’ or ‘wicked man.’ This passage is all about how such people respond to ‘correction’ or ‘rebuke.’ A mocker responds to correction with insults and abuse and hatred, whereas a wise man responds with love and growth in wisdom and knowledge.

 

Application: How do you respond when people correct or rebuke you? Are you defensive? Do you turn it back on them? Do you blame your circumstances? Do you just get angry and avoid them in the future? Such responses often reveal a flaw in our character, either we scorn the opinions of others, or we don’t want to change our lifestyle, even if it’s sinful or hurtful to others. However, a wise person listens to correction and rebuke. They determine if it’s spoken in love and if so they thank the person, and apply their words to their lives. As a result wise people become wiser. Do you resist change in your life, or do you embrace the godly correction of others?

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that when people confront something in my life I tend to get on the defensive. Lord, help me not scorn the correction of others, instead may I be convicted and transformed by it. Lord, help me be discerning about what is constructive criticism and what is destructive. Lord, may You allow people to speak into my life so that I might become more like Your Son, Jesus Christ. In His name I pray. Amen.

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