“He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. (Proverbs 15:31)” is the verse that caught my attention this morning. How teachable am I and when was I last rebuked, I pondered. Then I thought of the woman in our text for tomorrow who is not Jewish, not a disciple, and not at peace but knows where to turn. She fears her daughter, again a woman, has a demon and she turns to Jesus. “Have mercy!” The disciples want to send her away. Jesus pulls out a Jewish saying, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” I think we are more familiar with the saying, “Don’t cast your pearls before pigs.” The implication is clear. This woman is not one of the wise, worthy of being dealt with. Amazingly, the woman is not defeated and works the insult. “Even dogs eat the crumbs from the master’s table.” She acknowledges not only that Jesus is her last resort but also that God is her first priority even if she is not one of the “chosen,” even as someone seen as a dog. She listened to the rebuke, did not argue but accepted and found the pearl of truth in it. She, unnamed, goes down in history as one of the wise who experienced the power of God. Wow.
So how do I handle rebukes? Do I start that inner dialogue defending myself and pointing out the stupidity of the other? Unfortunately I do too many times. Not all rebukes are deserved but am I willing to evaluate feedback to find the bit of truth I need to listen to. Perhaps the person for whom God is their first priority remembers in the face of criticism that God is their defender and their judge. It is he we want to please. Lord, help us to remember today that you see all and some day will bring justice to those wronging accused.