Proverb for Today
He who refuses instruction despises his own soul, but he who hears reproof gains understanding. (Proverbs 15:32, MEV)
Do you hate yourself?
No, really, do you?
It’s an odd question, isn’t it?
Of course we don’t hate ourselves!
We are hard wired to love ourselves, to look out for our own best interests, to promote our own well being. So much so, that when Jesus described the way we should love our neighbors, or the people around us, he said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
We know what it is to love ourselves and take care of ourselves. But as we read over Proverbs 15:32, we’re faced with a huge problem.
If we refuse instruction, we hate ourselves. It’s not just unwise to refuse, or foolish to disregard; to refuse instruction is to despise our own soul. Yikes.
Despise is a strong word. It’s a verb used to show “contempt or a deep repugnance for.” To further unpack it, here’s a few other words that are close in meaning: abhor, deride, detest, disdain, eschew, hate, loathe, neglect. I think we get the point.
Instruction isn’t just important, it’s vital. To flip the verse around, he who listens to instruction loves his own soul. What better incentive do we need than that? To listen is to love yourself!
But sometimes pride gets in the way, doesn’t it? We think, “Well, they don’t know what they’re talking about.” “Who are they to tell me what to do and how to do it.” “How dare they insert themselves into this situation; they must have an agenda.”
When we respond this way, all we’re doing is sabotaging ourselves, setting ourselves up for failure—hating ourselves.
I’m challenged today to consider the different points in my life where I receive input and direction. Do I listen?
Reflect and Respond
- Who regularly speaks into your life? How do you respond to the instruction they give?
- Think of one person who consistently speaks into your life. Write them a “thank you” note today for the investment they’re making into you.
- Who can you help by sharing lessons you’ve learned, giving instruction along the way?