Proverbs 15:10What is reproof? What is death? Both of these words have a sense of ending or finality to them. Someone slaps us on the hand, or tells us we aren't good enough, so we shut down. Death ends it all. Does it? Death is certainly not the end, but it is an ending. Our bodies will lay down and our mortal turn at the bat to do all we can here on earth will come to an end.
But a reproof, a rebuke, a correction. . .surely that will stop us in our tracks. Maybe. Or maybe it will just put us on new tracks. If I balk every time I receive direction, my progression will stop. In that sense, I will die. I won't grow. I won't be better. And I certainly won't be happy. The Lord is not the only one doling out reproofs. Yesterday I was reproofed by the look on my daughter's face when I snapped at her for having an accident. . . again. I am reproofed by the sound of my own voice when I snapped at my husband for buying the wrong whipping cream. . when I was just looking at the wrong carton. I am reproofed by my son when he meekly apologizes and tells me he deserved to be yelled at. If I hate those reproofs, if I leave them where I found them and don't make them a part of me, I will die. I will lose the trust of those I love, and my progression will be stilted.
President Ezra Taft Benson's address on pride is a powerful one. A nugget:
"The proud depend upon the world to tell them whether they have value or not. Their self-esteem is determined by where they are judged to be on the ladders of worldly success. They feel worthwhile as individuals if the numbers beneath them in achievement, talent, beauty, or intellect are large enough. Pride is ugly. It says, “If you succeed, I am a failure.”
If we love God, do His will, and fear His judgment more than men’s, we will have self-esteem.Pride is a damning sin in the true sense of that word. It limits or stops progression."
This makes me feel intensely prideful. I am constantly reaching outward for reasons to feel good about myself. I want enough compliments from my husband to convince me I am pretty. I want to organize enough cool activities to garner sufficient praise for my creative energies. I want smart children to reflect my intelligence, and good cooking to demonstrate my domesticity. Instead, I can serve God, do His will, and trust that self-esteem will follow. I will compliment my husband and trust in his love for me. I will play games with my children because I want to have fun and treasure these fleeting moments where they want to play with me at all. I will give good food to my family because I love them and encourage learning because I sincerely believe it will make them happier. And then will come peace. And still reproofs will come. Today I will be better. I will pray. I will learn. I will love. And even if noone notices a thing, I will end the day reproved, rejoicing, and alive.