One of our society’s favourite songs is “I Did it My Way . . . .” How many of us seek out correction and welcome it? Do we not instead inwardly smart and find ourselves secretly hating the person who dared to correct us? “It’s my life,” we say, “I didn’t ask you for your advice!” Sadly, we are often only too willing to criticise others, often in an angry dismissive way — we who ourselves hate the notion of others correcting us!
When you read of the scoffer, don’t think about other people. Instead, ask yourself: “Am I like this — even just a little bit?” For the character of the scoffer is not set in stone. God intends for us to change, and provides us with all that we need for godliness. This is both through the Spirit in us and through our Christian brothers and sisters. How does this work? Quite simply by the scoffer understanding he cannot go on living this way and seeking out someone he trusts enough to whom he can open his life — someone to whom he can say, “Please be honest. What do you see in me that I ought to think about changing?”
As I was reading these proverbs through again today, I fear that we could easily switch the word “scoffer” for the word “blogger.” These proverbs have so much in them to challenge the Christian blogging community. How easily could we write — “Bloggers set a city aflame,” or “. . . a blogger doesn’t listen to a rebuke,” or “whoever corrects a blogger gets himself abuse,” or dare I say it — “Blogger is the name of the arrogant haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.” I do not say this merely to rebuke other bloggers — I am only too well aware of these tendencies in myself.
I would love to issue a challenge to any blogger willing to take it up to mention one of these proverbs on their own blog and discuss how we can avoid falling into this kind of behaviour — both online and in our off-blog lives.
The Scoffer in Proverbs
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?
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.
A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding.
A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.
Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
Condemnation is ready for scoffers, and beating for the backs of fools.
When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise; when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.
“Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.
Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarrelling and abuse will cease.
The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.
Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.