Proverbs, Chapter 12, Verse 1 (Amplified Bible)
Whoever loves instruction and correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is like a brute beast, stupid and indiscriminating.
But who doesn’t hate reproof? Do I hate reproof? Let’s see if I can recall a specific incidence where I appreciated reproof. No, appreciate is too weak a word. How about the opposite of hate? Can I think of a time when I really loved a reproof, when I rejoiced in criticism, when I truly appreciated getting called out on a failure?
Now that I think of it, that happened just a half hour ago. I was very thankful for reproof, even joyful because of the promise of victory it brought. I had been praying for several weeks for better health and greater strength with regard to a specific aspect of my physical self. This morning the answer came to me. I was sad that I had lacked understanding and discipline in regard to the problem earlier, but very, very happy that now I could see the source ofthe problem and with it the hope of a solution.
I guess it’s easier to accept reproof in answer to prayer than unanticipated reproof.
It also occurs to me that at times I welcome external reproof and sometimes abhor it, particularly if I consider the reproof unjustified. But Proverbs 12:1 doesn’t say anything about the veracity or accuracy of the reproof. So I must cultivate the humility that welcomes all reproof, whether it is 100% accurate or totally without basis in my opinion. The issue is that another being is concerned enough to bring it to my attention. For this I should be thankful.
I also need to recognize that sometimes I may perceive some comment as a reproof when it may not have been intended as such. Now, that happens to me a lot. So I must cultivate a humble spirit that realizes I may not always be the best judge of my own behavior.
So the take away from this meditation on Proverbs 12:1, is that I must welcome all reproof! Even if it comes from an animal. Have you ever felt your dog was criticizing you? Now this opens a whole new chapter, Critter Criticism! Yes, indeed. There was Balaam’s ass. Subject for some other time.