“Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
rebuke the wise and they will love you.
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.” – Proverbs 9:7-9
Throughout Proverbs the wise person and the fool/mocker are often contrasted with each other. One of the ways in which their behavior–as well as the fruit of that behavior–is compared is in the area of accepting correction or rebuke.
Fools and mockers ignore correction or even throw insults and abuses back at those who offer rebuke. Instead of becoming introspective and examining themselves, they turn their anger upon those who point out the error in their ways. One of the main obstacles for the fool in accepting advice is pride.
Where there is strife, there is pride,
but wisdom is found in those who take advice. Proverbs 13:10
The wise person on the other hand accepts the correction, learns from it, and grows. A wise person goes so far as loving those that rebuke them.
It is implied throughout Proverbs that the correction and advice being given is correct and godly. We need to practice discernment. When we receive correction of some kind, we should humbly look at ourselves, measure the advice given by the Word, and then through prayer make a decision about whether the correction given is true or not. Our first reaction is often to defend ourselves and in some cases that is warranted. However, we must be humble and examine the correction through the lens of scripture, guided by the Holy Spirit first. Then if we do respond, it will be out of a heart of humility, not one of wounded pride.
Assuming that the correction given is godly, the results of either receiving it or rejecting it are very different. One verse from many that illustrated this is Proverbs 13:18,
“Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame,
but whoever heeds correction is honored.”
There are many other verses in Proverbs that deal with the different consequences, but the general idea is that being foolish and headstrong leads to failure and humble wisdom open to correction and advice leads to success.
Correction isn’t a happy event. There will probably always be at least a small level of embarrassment due to pride that we have to work at. But we should grow to be thankful for it and grateful for those that love us enough to offer it. God can even use those that may not have the right motives or may not go about it in the right way to teach us and help us grow. It doesn’t excuse their behavior–which can be based on their own pride–but we can be wise and benefit from it anyway.
For myself, the most practical area I can implement this in regards to this website is being open to correction in the comment section. Whether someone disagrees with a point I have made, the manner in which I have interpreted a verse, or simply grammar/spelling mistakes or writing choices. I desire to be humble and open to any correction that someone may have. I hope that I am humble enough to quickly admit my mistakes and address them, thankful that I have been made aware, but also bold enough to stand firm if after prayer and study of the scriptures I disagree.
Thank you in advance for your corrections. May we both grow together.