He who refuses correction goes astray. Proverbs 10:17
As I (David) have traveled down life's highway, I have come to a fork in the road, where two signs greet me: ( I ) Receive Reproof, and (2) Go Astray.
Unlike rebuke, reproof is often not spoken but comes through natural consequences. For example, if I stay up late watching a movie, the natural consequence will be that I am tired at work the next day.
In relationships, the reproof for failing to meet family members' needs may come as they seek to meet those needs through others. A lonely spouse may escape into friendships with others—a natural consequence for the loss of intimacy between a husband and wife. Or a lonely child might seek acceptance with his peers at the price of his personal safety—the natural consequence for the loss of closeness between a parent and child.
If my spouse or child turns to others for what God wants me to provide, then I am at a fork in the road. I have to decide: Will I receive this reproof, or will I go astray? Will I heed God's Word, which tells me to care for my family, or will I continue ignoring their needs? Will I heed God's Word, which tells me to comfort my wife as God has comforted me, or will I continue to neglect and overlook her? Will I accept my children as God has accepted me, or will I continue to base my love on their performance?
There are important relationships at stake on my journey down life's roadway. My relationship with a holy God must be filled with devotion. My relationship with my spouse must be cherished. My relationships with my children must be nurtured. Because of those relationships, there's too much at stake to go astray.
How will you and your spouse respond to the reproofs God sends your way?
Help me, Father, to look beyond others’ actions and see Your reproof.