Life-Giving Rebuke

Read Together: Proverbs 15:31–33

Nobody enjoys receiving a rebuke or being corrected. Few enjoy confronting others who need correction. Our world today tends to view correction and rebuke as inherently life-draining and simply arrogant. Who are we to tell anybody that they are wrong or living in a way that is sinful? 

Yet, Proverbs 15:31–33 teaches us the value of life-giving correction. That’s the goal of confrontation: giving life and seeking restoration. In fact, these verses also teach us that ignoring the warnings and rebukes of others is an act of self-hatred. Listening to correction is wisdom. Ignoring a genuine rebuke is foolish and self-damaging.  

So, as you discuss these verses, remember to think about not just how we should go about giving correction. But consider also how we should receive correction. Until we can receive life-giving rebuke as well as give it, we have missed both the path of wisdom and an important component to unity in the church.

Discussion Questions

1.    How would you describe the difference between life-giving correction and correction that tears someone down?

2.    What are some examples of “life-giving” correction?

3.    Why is ignoring correction hating yourself?

Ideas for Younger Kids

  • Read “David Sins . . .  and Repents” in The Biggest Story Bible Storybook (pages 152–55). Discuss how Nathan confronted David and rebuked his sin. Nathan’s rebuke led to David’s repentance, which led to a restoration in David’s relationship with God (even as there were still lasting consequences for his sin).

Memorization: “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.” (Proverbs 15:31)

Song: Listen to “Oh, How Good It Is” (Keith and Kristyn Getty). This song reminds us of the goal of confrontation in the church: unity and peace.

Pray Together

Focus your prayer time together on the following areas:

  • Praise the Lord that for his mercy in forgiving us. Thank him for those in our lives who love us enough to offer life-giving correction. Consider thanking God for some of these people by name.
  • Confess before God our pride in often thinking we don’t need correction. Confess our tendency to pursue surface-level peace and unity without the depths of love and humility that lead to giving and receiving life-giving correction.
  • Pray that God would help you receive correction and offer it with humility and love.
  • Pray for relationships in our church community. Ask God to help us have a spirit of forgiveness when we are wronged and a spirit of humility when we are confronted for doing wrong.

Go Together

  • We tend to be people who like practical application, a seven-step plan for change or a two-step system for being a better [fill-in-the-blank]. Yet, many times the most practical thing we can do is return to the foot of the cross.
  • So, take some time this week to go to the cross and reflect on Jesus’s death for sinners. For how can anyone think themselves perfect who lives at the foot of the cross? The cross reminds us of the seriousness of sin. It reminds us that in Jesus there is forgiveness. We don’t need to fear correction. Correction can lead to repentance and lead to life. Take some time to go to the cross this week by remembering what Jesus has done, praying together about what the cross means, and seeking to live as those who seek life in the work of Jesus.


If you have any questions, comments, or ideas related to this Family Faith Talk guide or future guides, please let us know by leaving a comment!

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