7 Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return.
Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt.
8 So don’t bother correcting mockers;
they will only hate you.
But correct the wise,
and they will love you.
Being a Christian is about relationship-building with brothers and sisters in the faith. It’s about encouraging that sister when she’s at a low point, speaking to that brother who just got caught in a bind, and just generally helping keep one another steady in the race towards eternity.
There will come times when you have to pull a brother or sister to the side and remind them of their responsibility to walk a blameless and righteous life. After all, none of us are perfect and there will be times when we lose sight and compromise our testimony.
I myself struggle in this area because no one wants to be the one to do the “Matthew 18” and approach a friend to speak of a wrong committed. And no one wants to be in the receiving end. But like every other chapter and verse in the Word, it’s there for a reason. I wouldn’t want to be veering off course and not have anyone remind me to be human, to smile more, to be warm, or not to be so uptight. Am so lucky to have close friends and church family who take the time to remind me that I need to “slow my roll.”
When I read this particular Proverbs, my first thought was gosh, why so harsh Lord?! So don’t bother correcting the wicked it says. It says to correct the wise and they will love you. Yep, even the wise need reminding that they aren’t perfect and that their armor is getting dull in the faith. But the difference between correcting the wicked and wise is that one will receive while the other will not. And Proverbs says it simply–don’t bother.
Don’t bother to take the time to remind those whose hearts grow cold that there may be some areas in their lives that God isn’t pleased with. They know it, but it just isn’t a priority right now. The only thing that will come out of that is hurt feelings.
It’s the wise who will thank you for taking the time out to share what God is saying. It’s the wise who will take that time to reflect on what was brought to them. I have a friend who reminds me that I tend to come across as mean to folks and that can be a turn off. Now the flesh in me just wants to say “well that’s me so deal with it” but I know that I can’t win folks for Jesus with a chip on my shoulder. We all have soft spots in our faith and I need reminding that correction isn’t a negative thing, it’s only to build a stronger me. Like my old pastor used to say, “eat the meat and spit out the bones.” It’s not everything that is brought that will have merit but I thank and love the bearer for thinking enough of me to share.