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  • Dr. Stieglitz

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 17:10

Proverbs 17:10

"A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool."


This is the Hebrew word geara which means a check, a strong admonition. A rebuke is information or reminder or anything that is used to stop a person from repeating a damaging or hurtful act that they have done or are about to do.

According to this and other proverbs, the fool does not listen to rebuke and just plunges ahead to do the thing they want to do. It doesn't matter to them if what they are doing is hurtful or damaging; it only matters whether they want to do it. The fool is living the selfish life.

One of the major problems with the fool is that nothing seems to dissuade them from embracing their selfish desires. They just won't listen. So what happens is that they are led by their own selfishness to the discipline of a fool. The discipline of fools is always harsher and more severe than any rebuke could possibly be; it is the consequences of their selfishness.

I have watched as men and women have pursued a course of selfishness and then reaped the whirlwind in their marriages, in their finances, in their careers, in their families. I am always amazed at how a mom or dad could hear the rebuke of their small child, "Please, daddy, don't go... who will be my daddy?" and still go ahead with the divorce. But when a fool is possessed by their selfish desires, no rebuke makes a dent.

Right now there may be someone who, with great courage and trepidation, is seeking to rebuke you and thereby save you from a mountain of heartache. Listen to the education that others are trying to give you. When was the last time someone rebuked you and you listened? We often treat rebuke as just another criticism. It is not. A rebuke is when someone is trying to tell us that something that we are already doing is harming or wounding or destroying someone or something. A rebuke points out some information that you did not have. It shows the results of your actions that you had not considered. There will always be times when you may have to ignore criticism of your actions; but if someone has new information about real damage or destruction that you are causing, then sit up and take notice.

Most of the time a rebuke you need to listen to comes from those in a close relationship to you. A spouse, a friend, a son or daughter, a relative, a trusted colleague will approach you with something they do not want to say and help you see a perspective you had not considered. I have watched too many people just brush these rebukes aside and treat the person as an enemy because they were critical. It usually proves that the person is a fool. If someone who, in the past, has proven that they love you; and they are now trying to get you to see how some of your actions are damaging, unethical, or illegal, then listen or be prepared for the discipline of a fool.

It is significant to note that the wise person is not perfect and needs to be rebuked. The wise person is not someone who never makes mistakes and errors. The wise person is just open to correction and is not so pigheaded that they can never say, "I was wrong!"

An ancient Talmudic proverb reads, "With the wise a sign does as much as with the fool a stick does."

God may be right now sending someone into your life to rebuke you and thereby save you a lot of trouble. Are you listening? Make sure that you are willing to change direction. Even the wise don't always do everything right.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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