A time to confront… a time to be quiet

I appreciate honest people. I really appreciate people who love me and are honest with me for my benefit.

Just yesterday I had a man graciously speak truth into my life. I am grateful for his words and expect to make some course corrections due to his wise input.

Because I value the gift of honest input, I make my best effort to share that gift with others when appropriate.

One of my spiritual disciplines is to read through the book of Proverbs regularly. Every time I read through this book of the Bible I gain something and am corrected in some area of my life.

A couple of days ago I read these verses:

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse.  8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.  9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. (Proverbs 9:7-9 NIV)

These verses say something that I’ve been coming to grips with – not everyone appreciates honest input and not every time is the right time for honest input.

  • Want to get insulted? Speak the truth to a mocker.
  • Want to get punched? Speak the truth to a “wicked man”.
  • Want to be on the “enemy list”? Speak the truth to a mocker.

However, there are people who do appreciate and will benefit from correction:

  • Speak the truth to a wise man and he will become even wiser.
  • Speak the truth to a righteous man and he will become even more knowledgeable.

Mockers typically come off as “know it alls”, are generally loud and often degrade other people.

People with wisdom are generally open minded, willing to listen (even if they don’t agree), and are on a constant quest for the truth.

Based on these verses, I have a couple of questions:

  • Which one are you? A mocker or a person of wisdom?
  • Is there a person to whom you need to speak some truth? Are they a mocker or a person of wisdom? Based on these verses, what action are you going to take?

One thought on “A time to confront… a time to be quiet

  1. Well said, brother. This is an ongoing challenge for me on both sides of the proverb. Because I am always seeking truth I often share discovered truths without fully considering who I’m sharing them with or what the reaction might be. The effect, as you note, is sometimes not so good.

    Behaving in such a way that we always appear approachable – so that when we’re approached, we have an opportunity to speak the truth in love – is an equally difficult problem I think. In our own self-confidence we can exude an air of unapproachableness sometimes, I suppose.

    The Holy Spirit is required to keep on track in the areas of speaking and listening – all the time.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom so precisely.
    Shalom,
    Ray

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