A Responsible Response.
“But correct the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous and they will learn even more.” – Proverbs 9:8-9 NLT
Nobody likes to be corrected, right? Who in their right mind likes to be rebuked, called out, or even judged by someone else? Just the thought of it can raise my blood pressure. It causes me to stiffen up and start defending my rights, protecting my territory and justifying my actions as just and right. But according to the Book of Proverbs, there are a group of individuals, albeit a small group, who actually enjoy being corrected. In fact, if you do correct them, they will love you for it! Imagine that. Someone who actually loves being corrected. Their response is LOVE. The Hebrew word is ahab, and it is a verb that refers to human love for another. It is also translated as “friend” in the Old Testament. It is the word used of Abraham when he is called the friend of God. When you correct a wise person, he actually views you as a friend, not an enemy. He takes your correction as a good thing, not a bad thing. He is grateful because he understands that correction is the key to change and maturity. Sometimes we can’t see our own faults. We are oblivious to our blind spots and we need the input of others to help us recognize areas of our lives that need work. The wise man knows he has faults, whether he sees them or not, and does not become defensive or angry when they are exposed. Instead, he loves the one who corrects him. He is grateful.
The wise person also accepts instruction willingly and gratefully. He is wise because he loves to learn. He has an appetite for knowledge and so he gladly accepts instruction from others. In the Hebrew text, the word “instruction” is not actually there. It simply says, “give to the wise.” It carries the idea of exchange or interaction. If you interact with a wise person, they will grow in wisdom. They love the exchange of ideas. They are not afraid to debate, discuss, or expose themselves to other viewpoints. They are not one-dimensional or closed to hearing the other side of an argument. They will gladly dialogue and grow wiser through the exchange. If their viewpoint is right, they will remain firm in their conviction. If they discover they are wrong, they will grow wiser from having had the discussion.
You can teach the wise. They are not so sure of themselves or set in their ways that they refuse to learn from others. The wise are constant learners. They learn from their mistakes. They learn vicariously, voraciously and constantly. When we refuse to learn, we reveal that we are fools. Fools hate correction and instruction because they refuse to admit their own ignorance. They are content to remain foolish. Fools have a false view of life, seeing themselves as wise and everyone else as fools. The wise have a healthy view of life, seeing themselves as perpetual students and life as schoolroom. Their perspective is based on a fear of God that results in humility and a growing dependence on Him. Their love of learning and correction is based on their understanding that God is their teacher. He is the all-wise, all-knowing God who is constantly imparting His wisdom to them in a variety of ways through a myriad of sources. They see wisdom as a gift from God and learning as an opportunity, not a burden.
Father, teach me. Correct me. Mold me and make me into the likeness of Your Son. Give me the attitude of a wise man, so that I might love correction, teaching and instruction. Remove the pride from my life and make me moldable and pliable. I have much to learn. I have blind spots I can’t see. I have foolishness that needs to be exposed. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men