Out of the Mouths of Babes

Divine reproofs aren’t limited to Scripture. While Scripture is God’s primary instrument of communication, He will use any means necessary to get our attention when we’re headed in the wrong direction. On other occasions, reproofs come verbally from those who care about us, including parents, friends, children, mates, employers, neighbors, a policeman, a teacher, a coach . . . any number of people. Consider these reproofs:

  • From children: “Dad, you’re sure gone a lot.” Or “Mom, you seem pretty impatient.”
  • From employers: “You’re not showing the same enthusiasm you once did.” Or “You’ve been coming in late to work recently.”
  • From friends: “Is something wrong? Your attitude is so negative!”
  • From a wife: “I feel that you’re getting pretty selfish, hon.”
  • From a husband: “You don’t seem very happy these days. Are you aware that your tone of voice is harsh?”

Reproofs aren’t always verbalized—and sometimes a nonverbal response to our behavior can send a perfectly clear and blunt message like “Knock it off!” The consequences of our behavior can warn, “You reap what you sow!” We might even see our own character qualities reflected in the actions of others.

All of us have certain character qualities that need attention. To ignore them is to choose disobedience, and that choice can lead to devastating consequences. To address our weaknesses is to learn and grow from God’s personal reproofs. Pause and review this list of character traits as you recall the verbal and nonverbal warnings of your recent past. Circle the traits that nudge your conscience.

AlertnessDiscernment
LoveSincerity
AppreciationDiscipline
LoyaltySubmissiveness
CompassionEfficiency
ObjectivityTactfulness
ConfidentialityEnthusiasm
PatienceTeachability
ConsistencyFlexibility
PeacefulnessThoroughness
CooperativenessGentleness
PunctualityThoughtfulness
CourtesyHonesty
Self-controlTolerance
CreativityHumility
Sense of humorUnderstanding
DependabilityInitiative
SensitivityUnselfishness

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.


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