Truth can be a bitter pill to swallow and rebuke can make you choke. The last thing any of us wants to hear is someone else telling us what’s wrong with us or correcting a behavior we didn’t have a problem with.
While it is true we cannot receive criticism from just anyone, we must keep our ears open so we might receive instruction. We must consider our sources and wean and filter out the ones that are no good so we can attentively and effectively hear what is good.
Pride dulls our hearing.
It takes humility to receive instruction and correction regarding behavior or decisions we’ve made. Our pride will defend our actions and pursue them with more vigor. To do otherwise would mean we are not the person we believed ourselves to be. Pride tells us correction is an attack on our character.
Trauma also makes us resist truth.
Past hurts and abuse teach us to harden our hearts and cause us to mistakenly perceive reproof as an attack and its messenger as an enemy. Defensively we lash out with cruelty. When we are done putting that person in his place, we feel justified. Then we continue as we were: still stubborn, unchanged, and undelivered.
Today if you hear His voice harden not your hearts… (Psalms 95:7)
God speaks to us through His holy scriptures. He also talks to us through others and when we pray. If you have ears to hear, you will hear no matter the medium. Be careful how you respond. If you are offended, ask yourself why and consider your source. Before you dismiss it and/or attack your messenger, examine it privately and thoroughly.
And know this, if you have ears to hear, you will discover some awesome truths about yourself as well. You will come to understand all the wonderful qualities you possess and God’s desire to perfect that which is good–and to cleanse and purge what is not.
But you will not know or understand any of this if you are dull of hearing, hardening your heart against all perceived attacks on your character. Walls built to keep things out, do just that…both the good and the bad.