Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Hundred Blows

"A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding that a hundred blows into a fool."
Proverbs 17:10

As an air force wife, I moved numerous times. My oldest daughter said that she had counted up the schools she attended and they were 9! That probably doesn't even count her year of home schooling.

I remember one particular move when I began teaching a ladies' Bible study. I had taught for a number of years and had just left a very successful four years of leading a study. I guess I thought I knew how to do it right! Just like the other one, right?


After the first meeting two ladies came to me and said, "You are going about this all wrong," and proceeded to tell me why.

Oh, I was offended!

What had been so successful in the past, they were now telling me was not appropriate for the particular ladies who had attended this one. And I didn't like the way they said it; they were from a different country and very direct and (it seemed to me at the time) much too harsh in their criticism. And they were younger than I was! (I was all of 37.) And we had only had one class so far! How did they know what would work? How could they be so hard on me?

I was a fool.
They may as well have given me 100 blows.

This meeting affected my ministry for 3 years. I finished out the study I had begun and then quit. Gave up. Finished. At least for those 3 years. No more listening to that kind of stuff.!

Years later I was encouraged by the Lord to write to the woman who had led the two to my home. I was forced to humble myself and tell her that yes, she was right after all. I asked her forgiveness for being foolish and not heeding good advice, counsel and rebuke. This woman that I had considered so harsh was so very gracious, and I don't think she even remembered the occasion. But I surely did!

I may have led successful Bible studies, but I had not yet become a woman of understanding. How important it is that we listen to rebuke and consider whether it is of value rather than being offended by the method in which it was delivered ,or the fact that it was delivered at all. A rebuke can go deep into a person of understanding. A rebuke that is warranted can go a long way in helping to develop wisdom.

As we take rebuke graciously,


Cranberry Morning

Oh that we will be teachable! What a gracious God that He continually refines us, making us into the image of His Son - and even using others' words to accomplish His purposes in the lives of His people.


My understanding to a rebuke usually comes later too, sometimes too late. I guess that just confirms we are a work in progress. A little while to think goes a long ways, if we think from all perspectives not just our own.


It is never easy to take criticism, even though at times it is not intended that way. I am proud of you for facing this issue. I am sure there was a message for all to learn.


I recently experienced something similar to you. Criticism, whether given from love or not is so hurtful. Especially when you feel you are being brutally attacked. I spent the entire weekend dwelling on it, picking it apart for answers and insight, as well as trying to heal from the hurt. In the end, I found I was guilty of some points, not all, but that I had to go on as if nothing had happened. I learned a lesson, and hopefully, I will allow God to smooth over the pain and hurt, and give me a full heart of forgiveness.
I'm so glad you posted this!

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