"Appreciation and Love"
“Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.” - Proverbs 9:8
While I was at the grocery store the other day, I overheard two gentlemen talking with each other. I didn’t hear much, but my ears perked up when I heard one of them say to the other, basically, that when you correct a wise person, they will thank you, but if you correct a fool, they will argue with you. Since I was an aisle away, and hadn’t heard much else, I had no idea of the context for this statement, but I was pretty certain it was a paraphrase to a proverb.
Imagine that! Scripture being quoted at the grocery store!
As I came around the corner, I discovered to my dismay, that it wasn’t exactly a friendly conversation. It wasn’t two pals revisiting a moment of frustration of their unheeded advise to some child or grandchild or friend. It looked like two strangers arguing in the ice cream aisle over appropriate conduct in public!
While it was disappointing, it wasn’t all that surprising in our current social climate. Tensions are high. We’re struggling through a pandemic, having to make significant changes to the way we work, travel, gather, communicate and make decisions - all on the fly - with little or no clear direction. The uncertainty over the opening of schools, restaurants, churches - basically our entire way of life - is nearly suffocating! And seeing an argument bubble up at the grocery store has become common place.
Thankfully, the exchange of words went no further than that. I picked out two pints and carried on down the aisle. I didn’t know these men and they didn’t know me. There was nothing I could add to their “discussion” and likely even if I could, they wouldn’t care to hear it from me.
And still… that proverb was entirely true.
Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.
The question I was left with was this - am I open to correction and rebuke?
None of us are perfect. We’re all going to make mistakes. Just the other day, I stopped a funeral procession out front of the church while directing traffic during the Pop Up Pantry. It wasn’t until someone yelled at me that I even noticed the flags on the cars. My gut reaction was anger, “why are you yelling at me?!” But that was quickly followed by embarrassment! “Oh my goodness, I stopped and split up a funeral procession - that family is dealing with enough and I made it worse!” As soon as I discovered which local funeral home it was, I dialed them up and offered my apologies.
The question is not whether or not we will make a mistake. We will. We do. The question is what will we do when we are corrected?
God is pretty clear. Fools and mockers will not respond kindly. They’ll get defensive and abusive, their reaction will be hate. Wise people, on the other hand, will respond with appreciation and love.
I hope and I pray, that we will be marked as a community of love and appreciation. When we discover we’ve made a mistake, when we’re presented with our errors in judgment or decision, that we would receive it well.
It’s hard. Trust me. But in the end, it’s so worth it!
Welcoming people to Grow in Jesus,