Rebuking a Mocker
Daily Bible Reading – Proverbs 7-9; Romans 9
Today’s Key Passage – Proverbs 9:7-12
The Christian walk includes many things. As we live our lives for Christ, we will put Him first, build relationships, love our neighbors, honor our spouses, and reach out to the lost. Sometimes the Christian walk also includes correcting other Christians when they are mired in sinful behavior. In Matthew 18:15-20 Jesus provided instruction for us in the event that a fellow believer is sinning. Today’s key passage, however, discusses a related yet altogether different topic – rebuking a mocker. While rebuking another follower of Christ may sometimes be necessary during our walk, rebuking a person so wrapped up in their own wickedness that they cannot see the truth is ill advised and dangerous. In our passage we read, “Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.” (Vss. 7-8) I believe we can learn two important lessons from today’s passage.
The first thing we can learn from our passage is how our own reaction to criticism defines our character. When another believer comes to us in love with a rebuke or a criticism, how do we react to it? Do we react with insults and defensiveness or do we react in love and understanding? In verse 9 we read, “Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.” As followers of Christ, we should all be constantly seeking wisdom. We should constantly be striving to know God better and to get closer to Him. Sometimes the only way we can add to our learning is through the rebuke from another believer. When we are faced with this prospect, how we react will demonstrate to us exactly where our hearts are in relation to God. Instead of reacting like a mocker, when we react like a wise man we can strengthen our love for God as well as our love for the person correcting us.
The second lesson in today’s passage lies in recognizing the differences in others when we are the ones with a rebuke. Once again, if we are dealing with a wise man, we know that he will welcome our rebuke because he wants to gain wisdom, and we know that he will love us for it. Therefore, when dealing with a wise man we should offer our rebuke in love. If we are dealing with a fool, however, we should not even bother to offer our rebuke. Just as a venomous snake will bite you if you attempt to pet it, a mocker will violently lash out at you at the first sign of criticism for two reasons. First, the mocker’s pride will cause him not to even consider that what you are saying may be the truth and will hate you and your message. Secondly, the enemy ultimately controls a mocker. Jesus defined this for us when He was speaking to a group of people who were unwilling to listen to His rebuke. In John 8:42-47 He said, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here…Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire…He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” In addition, Jesus provided us further advice when dealing with a mocker in Matthew 7:6 when he said, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”
When dealing with criticism, whether you are the one giving the criticism or receiving it, always keep this Proverb in your heart and remember, “If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.”
During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you? Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.
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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.