January 13, 2013
READ: Proverbs 9:7-9
So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you (v.8).
Atheists are so passive because they have nothing to stand for! #ultimatecowards” “Atheistshave no morality. They will hug a tree and murder a baby in its mother’s womb! #confused”
The nasty Twitter updates continued. Sadly, the person behind them was a pastor. As he was a brother in the faith, I decided to say something. “I’m really struggling with your tweets,” I replied. “I don’t think they show respect towards atheists.”
“You would!” he shot back. “That explains the state of the church—because of your struggle!” He went on to accuse me of being “postmodern” and “soppy”. I pleaded with him to adhere to Scripture’s guidelines—to show gentleness and respect to unbelievers (1 Peter 3:15-17). “I tell you what,” the pastor concluded, “When you have as many ex-atheists in your church as I do in mine, you can come and show me a more excellent way.” Then he stopped following me on Twitter.
Ironically the pastor had earlier tweeted this: “When your first response to correction is to strike back rather than think, you’re missing the opportunity for God to give you a big heart and a big life.” Sadly, he hadn’t lived by his own words.
What is your first response to correction—to strike back at someone or to think? Proverbs has much to say about the matter. God corrects us out of love (Proverbs 3:12). The wise accept this correction (15:5), mockers resent it (v.12) and pride stops us from hearing it (13:10), but if we accept it we grow wise (15:31-32).
As I discovered, sometimes correcting someone incurs insult (9:7). The lesson for us all is to be people whose first response to correction is to think, not strike, accepting it humbly as the path to wisdom (vv.8-9), and so imitate our humble Saviour (Matthew 11:29). —Sheridan Voysey
Read Proverbs 10:17 to see how ignoring correction can negatively affect us. Read Ephesians 4:1-3 for more on being humble and gentle.
What’s your first response to correction—to strike back at someone or to think? Why? For what correction in your past are you thankful?