This verse has some variations of the word correction featured here in the HCSB. Other translations say, life-giving rebuke or reproof. Rebuke sounds so much harsher than the word correction. What we do with correction/discipline determines where we land in life. I can be at home and comfortable among the wise or not. I’m sure you’ve heard the term, “birds of a feather flock together.” So it is with the foolish and the wise. I can run with fools if I choose. The company I keep has the ability to shape me.
I’m not saying people of faith should stay together and never reach out to those unlike us. What I am saying and what I think this verse is insinuating is we need a circle of people in our lives who we give license to for correction. The one who thinks they don’t need this is foolish.
I think we have to earn the right to correct another. Only a fool goes around correcting everyone and everything. There’s a lot of that here on social media, opinions spewing out without a thought. This is NOT life-giving correction. What’s referred to here is a kind, gentle discipline done in love that brings the other person wisdom.
Another thought in this is how we choose to receive criticism. I can immediately go into fight or flight mode and allow my emotions to make a mess or I can wait awhile, chew on what’s been said and then respond in a way I can be proud of. I’ve seen too many misbehave in response to discipline. I’ve misbehaved as well especially with my own children when I feel aggravated by their behaviors.
To be among the wise requires the ability to accept discipline and criticism well. Let’s try to practice this. Discipline should make us better people. It should mold us. We should seek advice from those we consider wise. Hear some more wisdom from Proverbs 15:
“Anyone who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever listens to correction acquires good sense.”
Proverbs 15:32 HCSB
“A fool despises his father’s discipline, but a person who accepts correction is sensible.”
Proverbs 15:5 HCSB
“Discipline is harsh for the one who leaves the path; the one who hates correction will die.”
Proverbs 15:10 HCSB
“A mocker doesn’t love one who corrects him; he will not consult the wise.”
Proverbs 15:12 HCSB
“Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
Proverbs 15:22 HCSB