5 It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man
Than for one to listen to the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorn bushes under a pot,
So is the laughter of the fool;
And this too is futility.
I am constantly looking for correction. It’s part of the reason why I started putting my bible study “out there” so people could call me on things I said that are incorrect. Sadly, it rarely happens. The interesting thing is that when it does happen, I suddenly get defensive with a strong desire to stand my ground. Then I have to remember that it is what I asked for, it is what I wanted. We should all be more eager to receive corrective criticism than praise. Yet, we are conditioned to desire praise, are we not?
Solomon’s analogy of thorns crackling under a pot is to signify the short life of praise. It flares up and burns bright and hot and in a moment it dies away. Praise is short lived and really does no long term good to our growth and development. Now, I’m not saying that it is bad to give others praise or credit where it is due, rather I’m saying we shouldn’t seek it out. Our being corrected is a part of our sanctification. We ask God to cleanse us of our own pride and fleshly desires but when someone tells us we are wrong, then we immediately go on the defensive instead of trying to learn from the person who is talking to us.
If we truly want to learn and know the truth, we should be prepared for exhortation and ask to be rebuked. This is part of the reason we are to live in community, so we can help each other with this process. The foot can’t pull a thorn out of itself; it needs the eye to see it and the hand to pluck it. Similarly, we are to work together to help each other grow, even if that means causing a little pain in the process. Corrective criticism leads to humility. If we really want to have a closer relationship with God, we must understand that we aren’t always right and it is foolish to think otherwise.