THE ACID TEST FOR WISDOM
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.
According to almanac.com, the term 'acid test' was regarding gold during the gold rush years of the mid-1800s. If a miner found gold, it would respond differently to acid, and that would be the determining factor. If it passed the acid test, it was real gold. According to our verses for today, the acid test for determining who is a wise person is how they handle being corrected.
If you correct a scoffer, it is not going to turn out well. A scoffer is also translated as a scorner. Scorn is to show contempt or disdain toward a person, to reject as beneath one's dignity. You can envision the mocking sneer on a scorner's face, especially when they are corrected. And if the sneer is not on their face it’s in their heart.
Our verses for today indicate that if you correct a scoffer, a scorner, you will get shame for yourself. Correcting them will cause problems for you. In fact, when you correct them, they will hate you for it. So, the scriptures tell us not to do it. Don't correct a scorner or a wicked person. And if someone responds poorly to correction, they identify themselves.
As a side note, make sure when you do offer correction, it is done in love, not with the intent to demean or hurt.
Now, contrast the disdainful response from the scorner with the wise person. The wise person has a completely different response to correction. If you rebuke a wise person, they will love you. And the word rebuke does not suggest warm and fuzzy. A rebuke can be rather stringent. But the wise person appreciates the correction, and there is a solid reason for their response. A wise person will take correction and learn from it. A wise person will be corrected and become even wiser.
The wise person realizes that affirmation is great for feeling good about yourself. But correction is how you get smarter. When you are instructed, you learn.
These verses are applicable to all of us. If you are in the position of offering correction, observe the responses you receive. The people who get an attitude about being corrected communicate that they are a scoffer. Unless they adjust their attitude, they will limit their learning and possibly limit their opportunities to advance.
And all of us are in the learning phases of life, particularly when it comes to being instructed and corrected with God's wisdom. There have been times I have sensed the Lord's correction and instruction when reading His word and talking with Him in prayer. But I love Him for helping me, and I swallow my pride and take the correction. I never want to scorn when it comes to godly counsel.
And there will be times when listening to messages that correction and instruction come our way. Just smile, thank God for it and become wiser.
Lord, thank You for Your correction and instruction and even rebukes. I will not refuse it, nor will I get an attitude. Thank you for helping me.