Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you;
rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a just man, and he will increase in learning (Proverbs 9:8-9).
If you want to see inside someone’s heart and know who they REALLY are, watch how they react to correction or instruction. Do they bristle and become defensive or resentful, or maybe imply that they already know more than the one doing the instructing? Pray for them; they obviously have a lot of growing up to do. But if they humbly consider the advice and seek God about how best to implement it, you may very well be dealing with a wise and mature person, the type of person you might want to consider for a friend and role model.
We all need to hang around people like that, people who have truly figured out that it’s not about them. How else will we grow and become wise and humble? Choosing our companions and mentors is crucial to healthy development because we will eventually become like them.
That, of course, is why it is vital that we spend as much time as possible sitting at the feet of the Father, leaning up against Jesus and listening to His heartbeat like the Apostle John did at the Last Supper, communing with the One who spoke the world into existence and who holds our very life in His nail-scarred hands.
Life is busy and getting busier by the day. How easy it is to neglect that personal time with the Master! But when we do, we quickly find ourselves reacting in the exact opposite way that Jesus did when He walked the earth. Who was wiser or more humble than the Savior Himself, the very One who already possesses all wisdom and had no need to be humble in the presence of His creation? Yet He was our model of how to deal with life and relate to others in humility and wisdom.
May our lives be filled with time in His presence…and subsequently characterized by the wisdom and humility that can be found nowhere else. As a result, when someone reproves or instructs us, may we receive it with that same humility and apply it with wisdom that we might become more like Him.