Summary: Reproof is a very positive use of speech, provided it's motivated by love and directed by wisdom. Rebuke is not pleasant to our fallen nature but we learn to value it for the results it brings. The best and wisest of us falls short and has much to learn &
PROVERBS 15: 31-32
Reproof is a very positive use of speech, provided it's motivated by love and directed by wisdom. Reproof though can be a difficult pill to swallow, but godly reproof is precious to the soul. It can be bitter to the taste but like medicine, it aids health and healing.
Rebuke or reprimand is not pleasant to our fallen nature but we learn to value it for the results it brings. The best and wisest of us falls short and has much to learn and improve. Correction is the shortest way to this improvement. If there is truth in reproof, grasps it, let it bring humbling and God will bring great good out of it.
Correction for instruction is character training. It comes through God's Word and God's acts in history and in private experience. It is vital and beneficial and when taken to heart it may involve hardship and suffering, but it yields eternal dividends.
Let's study some verses on reproof, correction, and instruction and learn how to grow still wiser.
Proverbs 10:17 proclaims that heeding correction gives life and keeps one on the way of life. "He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, But he who forsakes reproof goes astray" (NASB).
Those who are on the path to life not only receive instruction, but retain it. They do not let it slip by carelessness, as most do, but keep it for their own use, that they may govern themselves by it. They keep it for the benefit of others, that they may instruct them in the way of life. The way of life is the way that has true comfort in it and eternal life at the end of it.
Those who go astray won't receive correction particularly concerning the true path to life. They willfully and obstinately refuse to pay attention when it is offered them. They will not be taught their duty because it reveals their faults to them. Instruction which carries reproof in it has a particular aversion to them because they have false notions of good and evil. The traveler that has missed God's way, and cannot bear to be told of it nor be shown the right way, will thus loss all sight of the way of life. [Henry, Matthew: Matthew Henry's Commentary. Vol 3, MacDonald Publ. McLean, VA. p. 846]
Proverbs 12:1 teaches us to love instruction and not be offended with correction. "Whoever loves discipline [instruction] loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid."
To love (desire or willingly accept) discipline (mûsr, "moral discipline or correction"; 1:2, 7; 10:17) shows that a person loves (desires) knowledge. He wants to be on the path to wisdom. To hate (reject and despise) correction shows that one is stupid (ba‘ar, "to be brutish or dull-minded" like an animal; also used in 30:2, "ignorant") or devoid of reasoning. [Similar thoughts are given in 12:15; 13:1, 18; 15:5, 10, 12, 31-32].
Some people desire to live in permissive families and communities where there is no check to their convictions and count those enemies who tell them the truth. They are called brutish. They don't want to be morally educated. They don't want to be reproved. They don't want to be corrected. Consequently, they learn the hard way. Because our Father is committed to bringing us into maturity, He's committed to teaching us. The question is, what will it take for us to learn? Will we learn by being corrected by the Scripture, or will we have to learn by going through brutal times? [Jon Courson's Application Commentary: Vol 2. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006, S. 211]
"Learn!" wisdom cries out. It's an opportunity for us to save ourselves a lot of heartache.
Proverbs 13:1 reveals that wise sons will be instructed but scoffers will not be corrected. "A wise son accepts his father's discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke."
A wise son (10:1) is receptive to parental instruction (12:1). [The word heeds, though not in the Hebrew, is implied.] The opposite of a wise, teachable son is a mocker (14:6; 15:12; 17:5; 19:29; 21:11; 22:10; 24:9; 30:17) who refuses to listen to and profit from a rebuke (1:23). How can we mend our faults if we refuse to listen or be told of them.
It has been observed that if you are reluctant to receive the rebuke of your earthly father, you will also be reluctant to receive the rebuke of your Father in heaven. Think of the wisest Son of all—Jesus Christ. He said, "I always do the things which please My Father" (John 8:29). What a statement.
Proverbs 13:18 teaches that he that scorns to be taught will be abased while one that is humble enough to learn of his faults will be honored. "Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline [instruction], but he who regards reproof will be honored."