The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility. (Proverbs 15:31-33)
Listening To Correction
Pride can be a difficult malady to push aside when correction is needed. There is a tendency to believe that self-worth is measured by the belief that views held on a personal level are always the right answers. In other words, the opinion of the individual rises above the mistaken ideas of others who think they know the right answer. It is easy to convince the heart that personal knowledge of a situation is the only right avenue to travel and that no one can convince a man to change. Receiving correction is very difficult and sometimes impossible. Constructive criticism may sound like a noble cause but only to the person giving the correction and oftentimes ill-received by those needing improvement. To be told the character of a person is wrong can bring hard feelings. Pride has a way of exalting self to the height of arrogance rejecting any measures of correction given by others. This is a common problem among the human race and has brought many sorrows to hearth and home. The wisdom literature of God’s word is filled with the admonitions to accept the role of correction from others as a tool to strengthen character. Listening to constructive criticism is a wise thing to do and should be received in the spirit given. Wisdom is found in the heart of the person who knows they do not have all the answers in life and because of the frail nature of the human heart that is mistaken often, accepts the role of those who would seek to admonish, encourage and exhort to greater heights. Listening is hard to do when the mouth wants to jump in with self-importance. Rejecting the guidance of others only brings harm to the person. Taking the time to consider the wisdom of others will help the soul grow in understanding.
The value of criticism is an important part of personal relationships but the fear of the Lord brings a greater understanding of the issues of life. Many reject the idea of an eternal God because they do not want to be corrected or told there is such a thing as right and wrong. Pride has exalted the spirit of humanity to refuse to acknowledge God or to retain Him in their lives. This comes from the feeling of superiority and self-worth of a man that believes he is his own god. He creates his own totems of wisdom declaring himself as his only god ruled by his own law. History is filled with the wastelands of the failure of human wisdom serving self as their gods. This rejection of God is the refusal of the man to listen to constructive criticism of his Maker and Creator who demands righteousness, truth, and purity of life. Rejecting the counsel of the Divine, humanity builds straw houses of pride that will fall every time. Discarding divine discipline only harms the man who seeks to raise himself above the Lord God. The problem rests in the refusal to accept correction by another with greater consequences when the one rejected is the Lord God. Man is stubborn that way. It is hard for him to accept correction from his fellow man and it becomes much more difficult when he must obey the voice of an eternal being. Pride fills the heart to reject any correction and disaster awaits.
Wisdom comes from a willingness to listen to others. Listening is one of the most important parts of a man that will bring him greater happiness, completeness, and guidance in the uneven paths of life. There has only been one man who walked on the earth that had all the answers and He was the Son of God. Jesus subjected Himself to the will of the Father completely. What made the life of Jesus so remarkable is the perfect obedience to the word of God because He was willing to accept the will of His Father at every level with complete and confident trust. The frailties of men are found in the ashes of self-determination when they refuse to perfect their wills to the obedience of God’s word. Wisdom comes from the mind of God and He has given man a book containing His will that will bring happiness to those who follow it. The Bible is the only revelation of truth. If a man refuses to be admonished by the word of God he becomes a fool. Humility precedes a heart that is self-determined changing the spirit of man to accept correction and abide by the word of the Lord. Greater joy will come to those who receive correction in the spirit that it is given whether by godly men or the Lord God Himself. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.