Although most Proverbs seem to stand on their own as isolated wisdom lessons, Proverbs 15:31-33 seem to be related, all dealing with one’s response to “reproof”, or the personal correction which is offered to you by one who cares. No one likes to be reproved, in fact sometimes it “stings”, but scripture tells us here that like an antiseptic, it is a hurt helps heal, and is best for you in the long run — IF you will respond to it humbly.
Verse 31 says if you “listen” to life-giving reproof, you will “dwell among the wise.” Many people get reproof, but the important choice you have to make is whether you are going to “listen” to it or not. If you do, then you will “dwell among the wise”, the Bible says!
Verse :32 continues this thought: “He who neglects discipline” (the “life-giving reproof” of :31) “despises himself”. You may think that ignoring a reproof that stings your feelings is the “right” thing for you, but you are actually only hurting yourself by ignoring the suggestions of one who cares for you; like letting a wound fester, it will only make things worse for you in the long run.
It seems that verse 33 refers to this same topic as well: “Before honor comes humility”. It takes “humility” to receive reproof and criticism; no one like to be criticized. BUT if you will listen to it, you will benefit and be blessed by it, and as you grow to be a better person as a result, you will eventually be “honored” for the godly person you have become! But before you can receive the honor, you must first humble yourself to receive criticism. “Before honor comes humility.”
God’s word speaks through all three of these Proverbs, offering us the same important lesson: don’t ignore reproof and constructive criticism. It may hurt, but if you will receive it humbly, it can be a hurt that will help!