Reproof… part 3

Proverbs 9:7-9. “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”

This is the last of three messages on correction, rebuke and reproof. This last message focuses on the scoffer- “One who shows contempt by mocking, sneering, or scorning (Gen. 21:9; Ps. 73:8). Unlike the good man, who walks the path of wisdom, the scoffer is a wicked man who follows the path of folly, refusing to listen to the wisdom of others.” (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

The KJV Bible commentary states that “Wisdom recognizes the hardened, those who will only mock at her preachments… The wisdom teacher ought not to waste his time with the incorrigible, but rather seek those who demonstrate some fear of the Lord.” And Matthew Henry states, “do it ever so wisely and tenderly, if you do it faithfully, they will hate you”. Correction is intended to lead a person to repentance. But a scoffer isn’t capable of that- his pride prevents him from seeing his faults. The Woman’s Study Bible notes, “The wise accept rebuke, learn from it, and become even wiser. A scoffer will never accept correction and therefore cannot grow or change.”

Sometimes, it is just not wise to correct someone- especially if they refuse to listen to wisdom. You know who they are- we see them in our everyday lives, people who deny the Truth and reject God’s word. According to scriptures, we are not to correct them. WHY? Because they are not interested in hearing God’s truth- they will reject it until they are blue in the face. That person will only hate you and shame you.

Those who refuse to listen to correction will suffer the consequences of their actions. Proverbs 29:1– “He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy”. The King James Bible Commentary notes, “The man who defends himself when censored and defiantly carries his evil thoughts to completion is insuring his destruction.”

Remember, when it comes to correction, first we must examine ourselves. Jesus said, “Why do you notice the little piece of dust in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the big piece of wood in your own eye? How can you say to your friend, ‘Let me take that little piece of dust out of your eye’? Look at yourself! You still have that big piece of wood in your own eye. You hypocrite! First, take the wood out of your own eye. Then you will see clearly to take the dust out of your friend’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5). Second, we confront the person, in love, and lead them to the Truth. Luke 17:3 says, “So be careful! If another follower sins, warn him, and if he is sorry and stops sinning, forgive him.” Third, if they refuse to hear the Truth and show contempt for God’s Word, do not correct them- they will only bring shame to you and themselves. “Get rid of the one who makes fun of wisdom. Then fighting, quarrels, and insults will stop (Proverbs 22:10).

Above all, it is God who convicts a man (or woman) to hear the Truth. If you truly desire healing for the person caught in sin, than you must first and foremost go to prayer. Our words mean nothing if we do not put our faith in God, and trust that He will bring that person to the Truth. “If anyone sees a brother or sister sinning (sin that does not lead to eternal death), that person should pray, and God will give the sinner life” (1 John 5:16).

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