Reprove a wise man and he will love you. (Proverbs 9:8)
You learn a lot about a person by how they respond (or react) to correction. They can appear foolish: “Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7)–or become increasingly wiser: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser” (9:9).
A true, loving friend will risk a friendship in speaking the truth for the good of another: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (27:6); “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (27:17). But what a fearful thing to do if there’s a good chance you’ll get your head torn off!
The wise know that God uses other people as tools in their lives, shaping His holiness in them, enhancing their usability in the hands of God. The wise respond to reproof with the sorrow that produces repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). The wise know the reason God is so direct about sin is that He is so direct about forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
When was the last time you were reproved by one of your friends? If it hasn’t happened lately-why hasn’t it? Is it because they’re afraid of you? Is it because of your foolishness?
Who does God use in your life to challenge and correct and exhort you? Go to that person once a year to give him permission to ask you the hard questions about your life.
Are you still angry at someone who corrected you in the past? If so, what is it time for you to do? (Look at Matthew 5:23-24 and Matthew 18:15.)