“Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wise; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” (Proverbs 9:7-9)
As a kind of refrain, the book of Proverbs tells us: “My son, be attentive to my wisdom”. “Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight”. Listening to wisdom and instruction is always a good idea. But sharing wisdom, reproving, and giving instruction are not always a good idea. We should not ‘throw our pearls before pigs’. Some people are not at all interested in what others have to say, and certainly are not ready to be told what to do. Then it’s no use going on about it. It could even make things worse.
This even applies to sharing the Gospel. As Jesus makes clear in Matthew 7:1-6, Christians should be forgiving and merciful, and not judge others too quickly. But at the same time, they need wisdom to distinguish people’s intentions. If somebody persistently rejects the Gospel, it’s better to give up (for some time) and turn to someone else who might be open to it.
Do you know people who always reject reproof, or people who are open for instruction and teaching? What is your own attitude towards correction?