We intuitively like to think that what we do is right. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,” the Bible says (Proverbs 21:2). But when we honestly reflect on our lives we know that we are not always right, and what we do is not always what we should do. That’s not hard to admit – as long as we keep it in general terms. The problems arise when someone dares to be specific in pointing out a wrong in our lives.
Which, by the way, is something that will necessarily be taking place in any community of loving Christians who truly know and value the Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16). The ability to accept this kind of reasonable “reproof”, as the Bible calls it, is the difference between being designated by God a fool or a wise man. God’s word goes so far as to say, “he who hates reproof is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1). On the other hand, “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise” (Proverbs 15:31).
With so much at stake, it is regrettable that so many of us would rather be artificially consoled by the “deceitful kisses” of those who don’t really have our best interests at heart, than to be genuinely helped by the “wounds” caused by the corrective words of true friends (Proverbs 27:6).