There is a trio of proverbs that speak to the power of life and death. These are instructional. For whoever hears these words and understands them and more appropriately heeds them, they will reap life. These words are as follows:
“Stern discipline awaits those who leave the path; those who hate correction will die. Death and Destruction lie open before the LORD–how much more do human hearts! Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise” -Proverbs 15:10-12 (TNIV).
Most people treat life so lightly–as if it were their solemn and sovereign right to be here–little knowing they’re here at God’s pleasure and their tenure is one hundred percent dependent on him!
God has power over all realms of life, and specifically in these situations regarding the physical and spiritual life. When we ignore God and do bad things for our health and safety we risk physical illness or injury on the way to possible physical death. When we do bad things morally we risk spiritual death… indeed, we are there already, in an instant.
But, the spiritual death is not final, at least up until physical death, that is. We can be resurrected spiritually in the shortest moment. But this very much depends on our approach toward discipline and correction–if we cannot endure both we won’t get far.
The foolish will reject their parents’ discipline (v. 5) and suffer fresh spiritual death as a result. Their lack of discipline and their anger will bring no one peace (vs. 1, 18). By virtue of their lack of resolve they despise their parents (v. 20). How could this not be seen as the despising of one’s self?
“If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding” -Proverbs 15:31-32 (NLT).
Listening to feedback with both honesty and courage, always prepared to accept what might come, is a golden way to live. Parents, of course, are in a position to give good advice most of the time so their advice should be sought, considered and generally heeded. (We must know, however, that not all parents are wise!–but they should always be respected.) Listening to feedback, in all situations, can only help us grow in understanding.
It’s a refrain in Proverbs; ignore discipline and correction and we will become foolish by nature. It’s almost as basic as cause and effect. A good sign of this is the life of the foolish as compared to the life of the wiser person. The person ignoring discipline and correction is going to have their way blocked–they will be frustrated, and often; whereas the way of the more humble person is a level highway (v. 19) in comparison.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.