If you want to dwell among the wise, the route that takes you there goes through reproof. There is no alternative road, no scenic route around correction. There is only heeding proof and receiving life, or rejecting reproof and embracing folly. The way to wisdom is through reproof. So don’t despise yourself.
Occasionally there is a kind of worldly advice that sounds like this: “Don’t worry about what others say. You’ve got to do what’s best for you. Just consider yourself.”
I want to take the essence of that idea—“Do what’s best for you”—and press on it with biblical application. There is a sense in which we must consider what is good for us. But apart from biblical instruction and sound reflection, are we reliable enough to discern what is best?
Let the wisdom of Proverbs address us: “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence” (Prov. 15:31–32).
The Bible wants us to consider what is good for us, and we also need the Bible to tell us what that good is. According to Proverbs 15:31–32, here is what’s good: heeding life-giving reproof.
No one typically likes reproof (or correction) when it comes. We might be embarrassed and humbled by it. We might recoil in denial of a blind spot that another person has identified. We might insist that the instruction is overstated and unnecessary. In other words, when we hear life-giving reproof, we might respond wrongly and ignore it.
But ask yourself where you want to dwell.