Out of the Mouths of Babes

Proverbs 1:20–33

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.

Alertness Discernment
Love Sincerity
Appreciation Discipline
Loyalty Submissiveness
Compassion Efficiency
Objectivity Tactfulness
Confidentiality Enthusiasm
Patience Teachability
Consistency Flexibility
Peacefulness Thoroughness
Cooperativeness Gentleness
Punctuality Thoughtfulness
Courtesy Honesty
Self-control Tolerance
Creativity Humility
Sense of humor Understanding
Dependability Initiative
Sensitivity Unselfishness

Has God worked in your life in a significant way through Chuck Swindoll and the ministry of Insight for Living? Whatever your story, we’d love for you to tell it to us! Psalm 9:11 tells us to “declare among the peoples His deeds” so others can be encouraged. Submit your story.

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

Posted in Failure, Sin and tagged .

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.