Proverbs 12:1

Proverbs 12:1 "Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish."
Proverbs 12:1 Bible Church Buffalo NY
When reading the proverbs, we have to remember that they were written by the wisest man this world has ever seen.  Furthermore, we need to remember that Solomon was “moved by the Holy Ghost” when he wrote these particular proverbs (2 Peter 1:21).  Therefore, we need to be careful when reading these proverbs to accept the easy and obvious explanations.  There are levels of insight embedded into these simple statements.  The further we consider and contemplate the simple statements that make up the proverbs, the greater the insight that we will find.  This proverb is a perfect example.  On the surface, it seems rather obvious and basic.  At first glance, it would appear that Solomon is simply teaching his readers that they need to embrace instruction and reproof or risk becoming brutish.  While that in itself is wise and true, is that all that Solomon was teaching?  Is that all that the wisest man to walk this world was thinking when he wrote this proverb?  Is that all that a man “moved by the Holy Ghost” was communicating when he penned these words?  In the words of our Lord Jesus, “I trow not” (Luke 17:9).

There is more to see in this seemingly basic proverb.  There is more to learn from these twelve words.  The key to descending down into the well of truth in this proverb is finding the words that connect the two statements.  What word on ether side of the “but” connects the two statements on either side of the “but?”  Those words are “loveth” and “hateth.”  Solomon didn’t just contrast a learner with a non-learner.  He didn’t just contrast a bookworm with a brute.  He didn’t pin a person who soaks up truth with a person who rejects truth.  By the wisdom of heaven and by the moving of the Holy Ghost, Solomon very intentionally contrasted a person who LOVES instruction with a person who HATES reproof.  The common denominator between both statements then is a person’s AFFECTION.  In this proverb, two very different people have two very different affections.  Those two very different affections produce two very different outcomes where one person loves knowledge while the other person is described as being brutish, or insensible and ignorant.
 
At the top of the well of truth, this proverb teaches us to love instruction and not to hate reproof.  However, if you look deeper down the well of truth, this proverb teaches us that our affections determine what we’ll do with instruction and reproof.  Look deeper yet and you’ll see two very different people being described.  One person has an AFFECTION for Perfection, which is why he LOVES instruction.  The other person has an AFFECTION for Preservation, why is why he HATES reproof.  Once you see the picture Solomon is painting in the depths of the well of truth, you’ll be more concerned about what type of person you are rather than what you’ll do with instruction or reproof.  What type of person are you? 

Do you have an AFFECTION for Perfection or do you have an AFFECTION for Preservation?  
If you’re not sure, just ask yourself two simple questions:
(1) Do I LOVE reading my Bible and coming to church to receive Bible INSTRUCTION or do I do it just because I know it’s the right thing to do?
(2) Do I WANT Bible preaching that REPROVES me or do I HATE it when preachers hit on things that I do or feel?

The answer to those two simple questions will determine what type of person you are.  If you have an AFFECTION for Perfection, you want to be a better person.  If you have an AFFECTION for Perfection, you want to be a better Christian.  If you have an AFFECTION for Perfection, you want to be a better spouse, parent, sibling, child, friend, employee and minister.  If you have an AFFECTION for Perfection, you LOVE to be INSTRUCTED and you want to LEARN.  If you have an AFFECTION for Perfection, you’ll even want to be told when you’re wrong and corrected.  
 
If you have an AFFECTION for Preservation, you’ll HATE instruction and you’ll DESPISE correction.  If you have an AFFECTION for Preservation, you LOVE who you are and will passionately defend yourself.  If you have an AFFECTION for Preservation, you’ll LOATH anyone who tries to change you or anyone who suggests you’re flawed.  The man or woman who has an AFFECTION for Preservation is BRUTISH, which literally means, “like a beast.”   A brutish person is someone who is uncivilized in behavior and “BRUTAL” in manners.  This vividly describes a person who has an affection for preserving themselves.  When confronted by their parent to change their behavior, a brutish child stomps away or screams at the top of their lungs.  When confronted by their spouse to change their behavior, a brutish spouse does the same thing.  The brutish are insensible and uncivilized in their relationships, acting like savage beasts because they have a deep affection for preserving who they are.  They don’t just ignore or refuse reproof – they HATE reproof.  They stand in stark contrast to the person who has an AFFECTION for Perfection.  Such a person welcomes constructive criticism and listen intently so as to become a better child or a better spouse.  A person who has an AFFECTION for Perfection can’t wait to open their Bible or go to church because they LOVE being instructed Biblically.

Do you have an AFFECTION for Perfection or do you have an AFFECTION for Preservation?  
If you have an AFFECTION for Perfection, you’ll be in church whenever there is a teacher or a preacher because you don’t just tolerate Biblical instruction, you LOVE it!  If you have an AFFECTION for Perfection, you’ll approach any Bible teaching with humility and hunger.  If you have a heart to be better than who you are, you’ll treat Bible teaching as a high priority in your life.  If you have a deep desire to improve your character, you’ll make great efforts to be around Biblical instruction rather than seek to get out of it.

On the contrary, if you have an AFFECTION for Preservation, you’ll avoid Biblical teaching and you’ll HATE Biblical reproof.  If you love who you are, you’ll HATE any counsel or preaching that confronts who you are.  When you love who you are, you’ll avoid any scenario where a Bible teacher may instruct, correct or reprove you.  When you love who you are, you’ll act quite brutish in order to ensure that no one gets close enough to you where they can help you make the appropriate changes.
 
When it comes to the proverbs, don’t settle for the obvious explanation as there is always something deeper down the well of truth.  Do you have an Affection for Perfection?

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