Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid.
That’s a blunt translation! It gets, however, to the essential difference between the wise and the foolish; indeed, it expresses the reason why the wise are wise and the foolish are foolish. The lover of knowledge loves discipline because discipline leads him to knowledge. He wants to be corrected when his thinking is going astray because more dear to him than his ego is obtaining truth.
The fool hates reproof because more important to him than truth is his pride. It is more important to him to think that others consider him knowledgeable than to actually be knowledgeable. Opinion – opinion about himself – is what matters most.
That kind of thinking, according to the proverb, is plain stupid because it leaves the fool with a stupid mind. He is stupid about what truly matters and is stupid in relation to how much knowledge he possesses. The wise use reproof to their benefit to train their minds, to gain further knowledge, to become more self-disciplined and thus lead to respect and usefulness.
Apply this spiritually. Remember, God disciplines us because we are his children. We are to desire discipline so that we may grow in righteousness, that we may know God rightly, that we may be useful in Christ’s kingdom. We should desire to be corrected about our speech, our doctrine, our behavior so that all the more we will conform to Christ Jesus. Be alert to God’s ways of correcting you today through your circumstances and the words of others, however they may be said to you.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org