Reaping the Rewards of Reproof (2)

He who hates reproof is stupid” (Pro 12:1)[1] – there you have it. The path to stupidity is paved with deaf ears, a hard heart, and the insane belief that you are always right. On the other hand, we learned in the last article that receiving a rebuke makes you wiser. Here we consider two more rewards you can reap from embracing correction.

Receiving Reproof Can Increase Your Opportunities for Service

“Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored” (Pro 13:18). Our natural thinking may be that to accept correction is to admit I’m wrong; to admit I’m wrong is to admit I’ve failed, and to admit I’ve failed is to disqualify myself from leading others. But in the Proverbs, the wise individual is not presented as a mistake-free, perfect person; the wise person receives reproof because he knows he has room for improvement.

How will this increase your opportunities for service? Receiving reproof generates respect. Others already know that you make mistakes sometimes – they want to see that you know it. When they see that development in your character, they are not afraid to honour you and give you opportunity because they know they can work with you. You have displayed honesty and humility.

There was once an intelligent Bible teacher who spoke with eloquence and was knowledgeable in the Scriptures … to a point. “But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Act 18:26). Apollos responded with something greater than intelligence and eloquence – he learned from their instruction. As a result, his opportunity for service increased. The brothers in Ephesus encouraged him in his desire to go to Achaia, and when he was there, he was a great help to the Lord’s people. The instruction from Priscilla and Aquila wasn’t to put him down but to lift him up and enhance his service.

Receiving Reproof Can Save Your Life

“The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself” (Pro 15:31-32). In other words, ignoring corrective advice is a pathway to self-destruction. After David committed adultery with Bathsheba, he attempted to cover it up and live in denial of the seriousness of his sin. For several months, David existed in a spiritual fade. He was going through the motions, away from God in his heart and enduring physiological consequences for his sin – until Nathan came with a word of rebuke: “You are the man” (2Sa 12:7). David responded wisely to the rebuke – he repented. The Lord forgave David, but it was the word from Nathan that the Lord used to save David from further ruin in his life.

Is there someone reading these words who is on a dangerous slide spiritually? Is that someone you? Has a friend courageously shared this article with you as a means of a tender reproof for your soul? “To be wayward is asking for a lesson; to be unteachable is asking for death.”[2]

[1] All Scripture quotations in this article are from the ESV.

[2] Derek Kidner’s paraphrase of the RV of Pro 15:10 in his commentary on Proverbs (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2008), 107.