I’m reading Proverbs right now and pondered today the 33 proverbs that comprise chapter 15. Several times throughout this chapter the writer speaks of the wisdom which welcomes reproof, rebuke, correction (vv. 5, 10, 12, 22, 31, 32).
I thought: the difference between the wise person and the fool when it comes to reproof is not that the wise does not need it and the fool does. The line of distinction is not that some need reproof and some don’t. All need it. The line of demarcation is who accepts it.
In a strange way, the one who welcomes a rebuke is wiser than the one who thinks he does not need it. It is paradoxical. It is the very admission of failure and acceptance of help that automatically diagnoses one as wise; whereas it is the resistance to admitting failure and rejection of help – that is, thinking one does not need it – that proves that one does.
This is the gospel, is it not? The one who admits failure is pardoned; the one who maintains a self-generated righteousness is lost.