Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Proverb of the World and Proverbs of the Word


These days a lot of emphasis is laid on the importance of appreciation by the secular world. I call it a 'proverb of the world'. It states, “Don’t be negative.” “Don’t be judgmental.” “Be positive.” “Appreciate others.”

Yes, I do believe that appreciation is wonderful. We must practice appreciation when it is necessary as it is a great means of encouragement.

What saddens me is that the world is addicted to appreciation and resistant to correction. This tendency has greatly influenced the mindset and attitudes of Christians too. Since the beginning of the exodus of Israelites, what we observe is that God’s people are more prone to the influence of the culture rather than to the command of God’s Word.

Loving Appreciation and Despising Correction


I fear to see how people in churches love appreciation and despise correction. When they are corrected, their face falls down, their emotions are disturbed, and their reactions are either wild or bitterly suppressed.

How seldom do we find people responding to correction, saying, “Thank you for your correction. It helps me to become a better Christian. Please continue to help me become more like Christ.” Such words can only be uttered by a wise person who deeply reveres God and His Word.

No matter how the talk of people and their Christian walk is, like the world, churches want to be just in the business of appreciation. They don’t want to offend one another, even if it is for good. They love to please each other through appreciation. They are reluctant both to receive and to give correction.

Proverbs of the Word


When I turn to the Proverbs of the Word, I don’t find much about the importance of “appreciation”. I find it only once where a godly woman is praised (Pro. 31:28, 30). The emphasis of the book of Proverbs is on “correction” (reproof, rebuke).

The words “reproof” and “rebuke” (correction) are used 20 times in the book of Proverbs. There could be more. And when the book of Proverbs speaks about correction, its attention is more on receiving correction rather than on giving it.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that appreciation is wrong. Although we don’t find about it in Proverbs, there are other parts of the Scripture which speak of it a bit.

As mentioned earlier, I believe in appreciation. It is a great encouraging tool. It is one of the love languages of people. We all love appreciation. Sometimes it rightly encourages us and at other times it pampers our ‘self’. Interestingly, correction is not the love language of anyone. It appears to be the hate language of people.

Proverbs on Correction


If we love God and His Word, we must be people who love correction. Look at the following few Scriptures from Proverbs which speaks about the importance of correction. The words commonly used for “correction” are “reproof” and “rebuke.”

  • Wisdom says, “If you turn at my reproof , behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.” (Proverbs 1:23, ESV)

  • “My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11-12, ESV)

  • “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” (Proverbs 10:17, ESV)

  • “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” (Proverbs 12:1, ESV)

  • “A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” (Proverbs 13:1, ESV)

  • “Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.” (Proverbs 13:18, ESV)

  • “A fool despises his father's instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.” (Proverbs 15:3, ESV)

  • “There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die.” (Proverbs 15:10, ESV)

  • “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.” (Proverbs 15:31-32, ESV)

  • “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” (Proverbs 27:5, ESV)

  • “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.” (Proverbs 29:1, ESV)

Moreover, observe the very purpose of God-breathed Scripture: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV) Even God's Word is given for the purpose of reproof and rebuke. It is not given for appreciation but for correction.

Correction Shapes Character


Honestly, in my many years of Christian life, I have learned so much more through correction rather than through appreciation. Whatever growth people see in me, much of the growth is the result of correction. The day that I stop taking correction, my growth halts and I become stagnant and dead.

Recently, I have taken initiation and asked a brother to correct me if he had observed any flaws in my character. What he corrected in me has led to a radical change in my life and ministry. I am forever thankful to him. How true are these words, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses!” (Proverbs 27:6, ESV) Well, there were times where I resisted correction to my own loss of character.

Never forget that appreciation encourages us, but correction shapes our character. Appreciation makes us feel good about ourselves but correction helps us to grow well towards maturity. We indeed need appreciation, but more than that what we need is correction. He who loves appreciation and hates correction desires destruction of his character, perhaps even of his soul.

Cultivate the Love Language of Correction


Correction may not be the love language of the worldly people, but it must certainly be the love language of godly people because the book of Proverbs speaks so much of its benefits. Christians must resist being like the world and become the light of the world. They must cultivate a humble heart of receiving correction. According to God’s Word, only a fool hates correction.

Agreed, it is painful to receive correction. It hurts our ‘ego’. But, as followers of Christ, are we not called to deny ourselves and to follow the right path to change?

Note: When we give correction, we must do it with love and kindness. And when firmness is required in correction, it must be exercised with concern and without being harsh. Having said this, I must exhort that we must be more passionate and humble in receiving correction rather than giving correction. How we humbly receive correction encourages others to appropriately respond to correction.

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7 comments:

  1. A great message for the one being corrected, brother. For the one upon whose shoulders providing the correction falls, I've found that people are much better inclined to receive correction if it is given gently and in private. Sandwiching the correction between two truthful praises also helps the other person to receive it well. Sometimes I will point out my own error-prone nature, too. After all, our goal is not to humiliate someone, but to bring them to repentance and restoration.

    "Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted." - Galatians 6:1

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  2. Very, very good article! Well said and so true! I desire tat all would hear the wisdom that you have shown here.

    Be encouraged and God bless!

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  3. Really its profitable to be corrected by the Word of God through the Spirit of God.

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  4. Bless you brother for bringing out an article which is rarely heard/read these days.
    PARENTS HAVE TO ADHERE TO THIS MESSAGE SO MUCH MORE.

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  5. Let us appreciate the correction!

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  6. Really encouraging one Anna....was struggling in this area a lot....thanks for the way you dealt with the subject according to the word of God. Really blessed and learning a lot from your messages also Anna....Praying for your family and ministry....

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