“The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.” – Proverbs 15:31-33
Have you ever seen a child do something dangerous, like run towards a busy street or get too close to a hot stove or heater, and their parents had to correct them? Perhaps first with a verbal warning, then if not heeded, with a spanking. The correction was not given out of hate, or even out of a desire to control for the sake of control but rather for the child’s own good out of the parents great love and desire to protect and preserve the child. The child may not see it that way, they may pout and cry but it is for their good none the less. The parent is simply trying to save that child and they know that a little discomfort now is worth it to try to prevent tragedy and destruction later.
Now let’s assume that same parent, seeing their child (or any child) running toward that busy road or reaching for that stove said, “I don’t want to deal with the screaming, pouting, and crying that often comes when a child is corrected so I’m just going to pretend that it’s not a big deal. I’ll pretend that I don’t know the outcome of letting that child continue on his path. I won’t say a word or do a thing to correct them or try to stop it.”… Is that love? Is that tolerance? Or is that selfishness?
“It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.” – Ecclesiastes 7:5
You see, the world has intentionally twisted the concepts of love, hate, and tolerance when it comes to Godly correction to the point of having near opposite meanings to what is actually taking place. When the world calls you hateful for not condoning it’s sin, tell it: “True love warns the sinner that “sin is pleasurable for a season, but after that, death“, while selfishness keeps it’s mouth shut for fear of rebuke.” Understand that what the doctrine of “Tolerance” really is, is nothing more then tolerance of the hate of correction.
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” – Romans 1:20-22
Now let me turn my focus away from the childish poutings of sinners and point out that those professing to be Christians are not exempt from this topic. Correction being one of the greatest expressions of love is not well received or understood by many among the faith either. This is why they struggle and fail to grow very much spiritually. More so in the developed country’s then in the poorer ones, where people are raise spoiled and lacking in the area of childhood correction. They are allowed to believe that love lets them have whatever they want, even if what they want is enough rope to hang themselves. When a person is raised this way it becomes very difficult for them to understand and receive correction or the “no’s” in life from anyone, especially the ones from God.
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” – Hebrews 12:5-9
We will never out grow the need for correction, nor should we despise it. In fact, as mentioned in the above verses, if we ever come to a point where we are no longer receiving correction and direction from God then we should fall on our faces, repent, and beg for mercy because it means we are no longer His children and have probably become reprobate. (Which usually comes from a continuous refusal to heed correction) Think of it like this: You are no longer that spoiled silly toddler running from your parents, you have heeded their correction and instruction and are living a productive and fruitful life. You are in school, you are very wise and even help to tutor others, but there is always more you can learn. Even though you are teaching others, you yourself still have teachers, and what do teachers do? They instruct and correct.
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;” – Hebrews 12:11-12
Here’s the epiphany that some Christian’s need to have in order to better receive from God, continue to grow, and be used by Him in greater and greater measures. Our Christian experience is like a school. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are our teachers, God is our Principle, we are all students. Some of us are in higher grades then others and can tutor younger students, but we are still learning ourselves. Sometimes one student might be good in one subject, like History but lacking in an other, like English. So the teacher pares them up with someone who is strong in English but weak in History, that way they can tutor and help each other. The more a student is willing to receive and even seek instruction and correction, the more they learn, complete classes, and get elevated to higher and higher grades where they are able to help tutor more and more lower grades that haven’t gotten to theirs’ yet. However, if that student ever comes to a point where they think they have learned all that the teachers have to teach and stop seeking further instruction and correction, they will stop advancing and those that they wanted to tutor will pass them up. Further more, if they outright refuse to receive the teachers’ instructions or heed the principle’s correction, becoming a problem for the other students, they will be expelled. Not out of hate for that student but out of love for all the others that are trying to do right.
“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:” -Hebrews 12:25
Know that, as Christians, one day we will leave this earth and go on to glory. Our funeral is really our graduation ceremony. Those still in school may be sad to see us go, but we will be glad to move on cherishing the memories made and lessons learned. I say that to make this point; if you are a Christian and are still alive, you are still in school, still learning, still being instructed, tested, and corrected. No exemptions.