The Worst Defect
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Proverbs 9:8
Though some people don’t like the word, I refer to my character flaws as defects. I have a lot of them. I refer to them as defects as they are unhelpful ways in which I interact with the world that lead me to pain and misery. I am prone to addiction. I have an appetite for unhealthy food. I’m self-centered and can be inconsiderate, but worst of all, I am prideful.
I find myself to be wise because I can admit all of these defects. I’m introspective and self-aware. I know my struggles because I’m honest with myself. The truth is though, if you turned to me and pointed out some flaw that you could see, my humility would suddenly evaporate, and my pride would reveal itself. I can criticize me, but I don’t tolerate it well from you.
Today’s passage speaks to this and insists that in my pride, I am the fool. The wise man does not allow pride to obstruct his growth. It is the fool who refuses to listen to the correction of those around him. It is the fool who refuses to see any defects other than the ones he is willing to admit.
This is perhaps the most difficult defect to address as in my pride, I remain blind to what everyone else can see. I may struggle – and have some success with – my appetite for unhealthy food, but if I have a flaw that I am unaware of, I will never even begin to address it.
To be disciples of Christ, we must continually turn from our defective, broken nature to follow him (Luke 9:23). In our pride, we are incapable of doing this, as our pride prevents us from admitting certain truths about ourselves. It is only in choosing humility that we can listen to others and begin to address those things that hold us back from being who we were meant to be.