Correction & Reproof
1. Because of verses like this one, I struggled and debated at first as to HOW to approach the book of Proverbs.
a. Should I teach it topically, and lump together those passages which deal with various reoccurring subjects… such as work/laziness; the tongue; choosing friends; the use of money; immorality vs. purity… reaping what you sow; or this topic: correction and reproof.
b. Should I teach it verse by verse? But if I do, then we are going to come across certain themes (like this one) over and over again. It might be too repetitious and thus become monotonous…
2. Consider how often this theme is repeated:
a. 15:10; 15:5; 15:12
b. 1:30; 5:12; 10:17; 12:1; 13:1
c. I believe the Lord led me to teach His Word exactly in the order and with the same frequency of repetition as HE put in it… by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
d. And if certain themes are repeated often… and if it seems a bit repetitious at times—you take that up with the Author. I’m just the messenger boy.
3. There is good reason for repetition.
a. It is the very best aid to memory and learning device.
b. It helps drill truth in deeper so that it sticks.
c. We forget and need reminding.
d. We sometimes begin to drift in the wrong direction and need to be wooed back.
e. We sometimes disobey and need rebuking…
f. And an area that may not have been a problem when you heard it preached six months ago MAY be a problem in your life today!
g. Or maybe the Lord knows that you will be tempted tomorrow and need a FRESH reminder today…
h. God has His reasons for repetition.
1. Correction is grievous.
a. Solomon was a keen observer of human nature.
b. He was a people watcher and noticed that NOBODY likes to be corrected.
c. It is human nature to assume that our ways are right and thus we don’t need to be corrected.
d. Correction is grievous because it highlights something that is WRONG with self… and is always damaging to our so called “self image.”
e. Correction casts us in a bad light.
f. It places us BENEATH the one correcting us.
g. It involves accepting the fact that they’re right and I’m wrong!
h. That always hurts… doesn’t it?
2. It is grievous experience for many reasons… most of which are based in PRIDE.
a. Students don’t like to be corrected in class because they feel foolish… embarrassed…
• Everyone is looking at them… they feel “stupid” for doing the math wrong…
• However, they SHOULD be pleased that something wrong is being righted!
• It is far better to have it corrected in class… than with a red pen on your final exam!
• If you’re doing the problems wrong, the most helpful thing a teacher or a fellow student can do is correct you!
b. Workers don’t like to be corrected in the workplace for similar reasons.
• They feel embarrassed if their coworkers find out that they were doing something wrong.
• It makes them look bad.
• Or perhaps, they still THINK that their way is right… and who does my boss think he is?
• Workers also don’t like to be corrected because it might mean doing the work over again… correcting all the mistakes… fixing the errors…
• Lazy, mediocre workers do not like to be corrected.
c. Young people don’t like to be corrected.
• It hurts their pride… they feel that they are being treated like a little child…
• Sometimes, because of a lack of experience, they don’t see the error of their way and resent being told that they might be wrong.
• Sometimes it is just pure sin—they want to do it their way and don’t want anyone telling them anything different!
• They hate the authority which the reproof represents.
d. As Christians we don’t like being corrected.
• Once again, the reasons are similar.
• We don’t like to have our sin or failure to be highlighted.
• We don’t want to admit that we are wrong and someone else is right. Pride!
• We sometimes allow our hearts to become hardened and we don’t WANT to bend… to yield… or to submit to God’s Word.
• II Tim. 2:16-17 – the Scriptures are profitable for REPROOF…
» Refusing to be reproved—when the reproof is based upon the Scriptures, is refusing to submit to God Himself!
» We often take it out on the person who reproves (parent; teacher; boss; elder; pastor; brother… )
» In reality our problem is with God.
» It is a spiritual problem; an issue of the heart;
» Reproof points out an infection in our heart… and it HURTS to touch a sore, infected spot!
» When we are infected, it is precisely that infected spot that NEEDS identifying and cleansing! That’s reproof!
• Heb. 12:11 – NO chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous!
1. None of it is joyous; all of it is grievous!
2. This is true for young and old; parent and child; boss and employee;
3. EVERY son is chastened… no one escapes… and it always hurts.
4. But it is always good for us!
5. It hurts in the immediate; but is good in the long run… like cleaning out an infection.
3. Him that forsaketh the way.
a. Forsake: to leave; lose; to depart from; leave behind; abandon.
b. The way they forsake:
• Prov. 2:8 – the way of His saints.
• Prov. 2:13 – who leave (forsake) the paths of uprightness.
• Prov. 2:20 – the way of good men; the paths of the righteous.
• Prov. 4:11 – the way of wisdom; right paths.
• Prov. 10:29 – the way of the Lord.
• Psalm 119:1 – the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
c. Those who forsake the right way, end up going the wrong way.
• Prov. 1:15 – the way of foolish sinners who seek after mischief.
• Prov. 2:12-15 – the way of wicked men; darkness; crooked ways.
• Prov. 12:26 – the seducing ways of the wicked.
• Prov. 13:15 – the way of the transgressor… which is hard.
• Prov. 15:19 – the way of the slothful.
4. Correction is grievous to the one who forsaketh the way.
a. One would think he would WANT to be corrected!
b. Especially if he finds himself in the way with the wicked… the way of darkness… (stumbling) the way of the transgressor (hard life)… the way of mischief (getting in trouble and paying the consequences…)
c. One would think that when a friend points out a BETTER way, that it would be greatly appreciated. WRONG!
d. It is grievous. He HATES to be corrected.
e. Why? Because he is in darkness… and the darkness doesn’t comprehend the light; because he has been seduced by wickedness… and the wicked way seems “wicked good” to him… and because there is a temporary pleasure to sin.
f. This man who hates to be corrected is quite shortsighted.
• There is an immediate pleasure to sin, but there are also long term consequences.
• The darkness is appealing when you are trying to cover up your lifestyle.
• And after you’ve been in the darkness for a while, your eyes adjust… and the light seems TOO bright!
• But ultimately, it is PRIDE at the root of it all.
• Fallen flesh likes to do its own thing… and doesn’t want to be told what to do… and is BLIND and thus unable to see what’s wrong with his evil way.
g. Prov. 13:18 – Wandering off into the wrong path is shortsighted because (regardless of how much FUN that way may seem), the end of that path is often poverty and shame!
1. Prov. 13:13 – whoso rejects the Word shall be destroyed!
2. Prov. 15:10 – even death!
3. There are serious consequences of NOT LISTENING to the words of wisdom… to words of correction and rebuke…
a. Sinning is bad enough. It is bad enough when we stumble and fall into sin… caught unaware.
b. But this is much worse. This is the man (or woman) who sins… and HATES to be reproved! He is told of the danger; warned not to proceed; but continues going the wrong way anyway!
c. This is willful sin… deliberate sin… this is rejecting light and truth… and a refusal to acknowledge sin. And we are judged according to the light we receive.
d. The man who trips into sin and bangs his head usually is ready to accept help in getting up.
e. But this man walked off into sin… and is being encouraged to get up and turn around… and he HATES to hear it!
f. There is no help for those who refuse help… for those who hate to be helped.
4. Those who refuse to be corrected… those who hate reproof… shall suffer and even die!
a. This doesn’t mean that in every single incident, the person who hates reproof dies.
b. But the one whose life is characterized by “hating reproof” is on a pathway that is headed towards death.
c. It is the way of the transgressor… the way of sin… and the wages of sin is death.
d. Prov. 29:1 – He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
e. Even a righteous man (a believer) who refuses to submit to the correction of God’s Word may experience physical death as a result. There is a sin unto death! (The Corinthians!)
5. Ultimately, this man will refuse the offer of salvation… for the GOSPEL message is a message of reproof, isn’t it?
a. First God reproves us for our sin. He points it out and makes us admit it. He tells us that we are headed the WRONG WAY.
b. Then He offers a BETTER way… HIS way. (John 14:6)
c. Those who refuse correction will remain in the broad way that leads to eternal destruction.