Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid.
(Proverbs 12:1 ESV)
This verse is strikingly straightforward. There are two people who are described: those who love discipline and those who hate reproof. To love discipline, in contrast with hating reproof, means a love of being corrected for sin. A person who loves having their sins corrected–by fellow Christians and ultimately by God–loves knowledge, knowing God, knowing how to love Him.
On the other hand, he who hates reproof is stupid.
Oh, may the Lord keep us from being stupid! We have a tendency, as individuals and as a church, to have the mentality of “I’m not one to judge.” Or worse, we have the mentality of, “Who are you to judge me?” The truth is that Scripture calls for us to exhort each other about sin. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” Psalm 141:5 says, “Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me“. Proverbs 9:8: “reprove a wise man and he will love you.” Proverbs 27:6: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend“. Proverbs 28:3: “Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue.” Proverbs 27:5: “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” We could go on and on.
It is right for us to correct one another when we see each other sin. Not only is it right; it is the most loving thing we can do! Imagine seeing a brother walking blindly toward the edge of a cliff. What would you do? Would you say nothing? Would you think, who am I to judge whether walking off a cliff is deadly? Would you encourage them about something else? “You’re a really good singer!” Of course not! Even if you have to tackle that brother, you will stop him from walking off the cliff.
But I digress. This proverb is not speaking about the tackler; it’s speaking about the cliff jumper. It is not right for us to reject or hate correction. God says it’s stupid to do so. If we genuinely want to know Him more, then we will humbly and gratefully receive exhortation from our brothers and sisters in Christ. We should all have this attitude instead: “Judge me. Judge me please. I do not want to sin against my Savior. I want to know Him more. Do not do me the disservice of ignoring my sin.” It goes against our nature, doesn’t it? But so much does when following God.
1 Kings 9