8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
Proverbs 9:7-9 (NKJV) 7 “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
Proverbs 9:7-9 (NIV) 7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
8 Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
rebuke the wise and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
Proverbs 9:7-9 (NLT) 7 Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return.
Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt.
8 So don’t bother correcting mockers;
they will only hate you.
But correct the wise,
and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise,
and they will be even wiser.
Teach the righteous,
and they will learn even more.
mocker - to attack or treat with ridicule; someone who jeers or mocks or treats something with contempt or calls out in derision: a contemptuous or derisive imitative action or speech; to sneer at, to laugh at; to make fun of; to sneer at; scoffer.
scoffer - someone who laughs and speaks about a person or idea in a way that shows that they think that person or idea is stupid or silly.
scorner - one who feels contempt or disdain toward a person, or object, considered despicable or unworthy; one who shows open dislike and disrespect often mixed with indignation.
Matthew 7:6 (Jesus speaking) "Do not give dogs what is holy; do not throw your pearls before swine. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces."
Matthew 15:26 But Jesus replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs."
Lady Wisdom is saying there are some people who have already made up their minds and trying to talk to them is useless. They will just make fun of you, treat you with scorn. They know everything and cannot learn anything new. Anyone who tries to teach them is a personal enemy to be resisted. Their ridicule can turn to anger and abuse if you continue to try. There's no use arguing with them because their hostility will grow and it gets harder to get through. Don't waste your time on someone who is unreceptive and antagonistic. There are times when reproof only hardens the heart and you may do more damage than good.
A wise person will eagerly accept teaching because they realize it is for their own good. A wise person will accept reproof and use it to learn to do better. No one comes into this world knowing everything. Some people have such hardheads and hard hearts that they resist anybody who tries to teach them. They see it as a personal affront rather than as a way to learn. But those people hurt themselves. They are self destructive because they won't learn things the easy way. Hardheads have to learn the hard way.
You see it in children all day long. They "hate" school, "hate" their teachers, "hate" learning. They think they know it all and resist everything parents and teachers try to teach them. Instead of being glad to have a free school with free books and teachers, they try to do everything they can to get out of learning. They won't do their homework; won't read their books. They play hooky; won't pay attention; won't apply themselves. Teachers feel like they're beating their heads against a wall. And they are. A wall of resistance. That kind of person can take that attitude out into the world and they won't learn and conform to society. They are troublemakers, bullies, may end up in jail or into self destructive behaviors. They are very rebellious against any authority figures such as parents, teachers, principals, police, bosses, supervisors, etc.
These people you see in a movie. You know the type. A family member rushes into the house screaming, "Everyone get in the car, we have to leave NOW!" The hardheads will immediately start questioning. "Why? I'm not going anywhere until you tell me why! What's going on? You have to explain it in detail and be patient until I wrap my head around what you are saying. Meanwhile I'm going to stand stockstill and resist you until you have to drag me out of here. So answer my question!" Meanwhile the monster bashes through the door and eats them all up while hardhead is in mid-sentence.
These are the types that have a natural resistance to anyone they perceive is trying to tell them what to do. "You can't tell me what to do!" "You aren't the boss of me!" In essence they have to be in control and if they perceive anyone else as being in control, they will resist until they have their control back. Rebellious, resistant, hostile to anyone who tries to take control away. If you watch reality TV programs of policemen trying to get someone to cooperate, you will see these type of people. No matter how many times the policeman tells them to put their hands up, they will refuse. The policeman always starts with a calm authoritative voice. But the person immediately resists because it's an order from an authority figure. The more control the policeman tries to exert, the more resistant the person becomes because they just can't give up control to anyone else.
As a Christian, when we talk to someone like this, they see God as trying to take control away from them. They resist God and resist the Christian who is speaking about God. They put their fences and walls up a long time ago and they refuse to let God in because they perceive God as taking their control away from them.
During this COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, our President, Governors, Mayors,... our leaders, have asked us to stay home as much as possible. We have had 3 responses:
1) "You can't tell me what to do" - people who refuse to cooperate and will resist while endangering themselves and others. Hardheads. They will not let anyone have control even for their own good. If you try to reprove them, they will get angry and more belligerent. They are very selfish people because it's their way or the highway.
2) People who are scared to death. They see those who refuse to stay home as threats and they become angry. Scared people see the hardheads as threats, enemies and dangerous because they won't stay home. I'm seeing so much anger on Facebook from scared people that I won't be surprised when it erupts in physical confrontations in driveways, parking lots and stores. Fearful people are selfish people too because where does it lead? Are you going to shoot someone who won't stay home? Their fear is making them lose perspective and self control. You may be right, but hardheads won't back down. Desperate, fearful people won't back down either. There will be a clash and people will die or go to jail. Fearful people may get desperate enough to ride out on their high horse and try to make hardheads comply. But it leads to trouble.
3) People who are trying to obey the authorities and keep a good attitude in the midst of scary times. They are balanced. These people have enough wisdom to see authorities are trying to do what's best for the population. They listen to authorities because it's in their best interest to do so. They don't let fear take over because it's in their best interest not to let it happen. If you are smart, you don't shoot yourself in the foot. You weigh things out and do what is in your best interest. You will think, "This coronavirus sounds bad. Even if I survive it, I don't want to be that sick. It's not worth it to me to take chances. So I'm going to follow the guidelines and be extra careful. I certainly don't want to carry it to any of my loved ones or anyone who may not survive it. So I'm going to do my best not to be a part of the problem but to be a part of the solution."
Now apply this to Christianity. If someone is trying to witness to someone about Jesus Christ, you will see one of the 3 reactions above. The hardhead who sits on top of his smug wall and takes potshots to keep you from showing him a God whom, he perceives, is trying to take control of his life. Or the fearful person who hides behind their wall and takes potshots at anyone because they are afraid. Or the person who is ready to accept Jesus Christ because they need Him. This person has an open heart to Jesus.
Now for the kicker! None of us would be open to Jesus if it weren't for God. God plants a seed of faith in every one of us. But the seed lies dormant, dead, until God breathes life into it. How does God do that? Through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit attempts to break into the hard hearts, to plow them up and make them open and ready for the seed to be planted and quickened. The Holy Spirit knocks on the door of our heart and asks to come in. When we open the door to Jesus Christ, it means we have been readied by the Holy Spirit. It means we have realized our need and we are willing for Jesus Christ to be our Savior! That was the work of the Holy Spirit! At that moment, God breathes life on our seed of faith and it is quickened and our spirit is born.
Until the heart is readied by the Holy Spirit, godly wisdom is wasted on a person. "Don't throw pearls before swine". That saying means valuable pearls are wasted on pigs who don't care about their value or quality. All they want is slop!
As for Christians, we can still struggle with being a submitted disciple of Christ. We still tend to want our own way. But a mature believer will be willing, and gratefully submit, to being taught godly wisdom. Sanctification is the lifelong process of learning and growing in the spirit. Sometimes we have to learn through discipline.
Psalm 119:67-71 (NLT) 67 I used to wander off until you disciplined me;
but now I closely follow your word.
68 You are good and do only good;
teach me your decrees.
69 Arrogant people smear me with lies,
but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are dull and stupid,
but I delight in your instructions.
71 My suffering was good for me,
for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.
- Can you think of someone who is a hardhead? Someone who refuses any authority because they just won't relinquish control? How has that worked for them?
- Can you think of someone who is afraid and angry at the hardheads they encounter in their life? How is that working for them?
- Have you been one or the other? I have and I learned that my hardhead got me in trouble. I also learned that fear and anger will get me in trouble. So now I try to listen to godly wisdom and think before I react. It's in my best interest to have some humility and be willing to learn and be obedient. Of course, we must obey God first. I'm not talking about being obedient and compliant with things that are ungodly. It takes godly wisdom to know when to stand up and when to sit down, when to speak up and when to shut up.
- Have you ever been made fun of for speaking about Jesus or your faith? How bad was it? You know some people are actually treated as criminals for being a Christian. They can lose everything, be imprisoned, tortured and martyred for being a Christian. They are accused of being the troublemakers and hardheads. That's the furthest thing from the truth but those who hate God see it that way. If you have faced any persecution you know what I mean. A mocker, scorner or scoffer can make you feel 1" tall. They will hate you. But it's because they are afraid of what you have to say. So hold up your head because you are a Prince (or Princess) of the Most High God. Know when to speak out. But also know when it's fruitless and the argument is just making things worse. Just walk away and let the Holy Spirit work some more on their heart. If you continue in circular arguments, you are wasting your breath and maybe making things worse. You don't have to defend yourself. You don't have to be acknowledged as right. Let God defend you. Give up trying to control the argument and control the other person and back off.
- What comes to your mind when you read, "Do not give dogs what is holy; do not throw your pearls before swine."?
- Read Psalm 119. It is the longest Psalm but so worth reading right now.
For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.