March 14, 2018
The Beauty of a Rebuke
Legend has it that in a land far away, many centuries ago, there lived a husband who welcomed his wife’s rebukes. When she challenged him on some weakness in his character, he listened patiently and humbly, thanked her for her loving concern, made her remarks a matter of prayer, and changed his behavior accordingly. Eventually, he became known as “the husband who welcomed his wife’s rebukes.”
Have you heard of that legend?
There’s a reason for that.
It doesn’t exist. It’s too far-fetched.
Except that Proverbs kind of encourages us (men and women alike) in that direction.
Proverbs 12:1 puts this attitude in bold-faced, italicized print: “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”
I don’t have to consult the commentaries on this one. The Bible says that if I hate my wife’s loving challenges, I’m stupid.
In fact, it’s even worse. A straight-out translation would call me an “ignoramus.” One commentator says the word “refers to a stupid man who does not have the rationality that differentiates men from animals.”
This is where believing that God designed marriage to make us holy even more than to make us happy (expressed in my book Sacred Marriage) becomes so relevant and practical. Though Proverbs is written primarily to young men, and this instruction is most naturally seen as that between a parent and child, we know from many biblical passages that “growing” our character is a work that is never completed. If I truly desire to grow in holiness. I will, indeed, welcome my spouse’s appropriate rebukes. “Understanding” and “wisdom,” biblically speaking, are something we pursue and attain, not something we’re born with: “Whoever listens to correction acquires good sense.” Proverbs 15:32
It’s not that I love being rebuked, it’s that I love knowledge and understanding, and reproof is the road I have to travel to get there. My wife can