What is Salutary?
“The ear that listens to salutary reproof is at home among the wise” (Prov. 15:31). This is a truly valuable aphorism for the Christian mind to contemplate. We do not like being reproved very often, but this kind of reproof suggested here can be very valuable to us. “Salutary” means something that is healthy, something favorable to the health of the mind, the body and more importantly in this case, to the soul. A reproof may at first be experienced as something unpleasant, even unwelcome. But, if it is appropriate, if it is directly related to something we have done that is wrong, it can produce good effects, beneficial rewards for us in the end. This, of course, requires that we hear it. That is what is meant by the opening words of this aphorism, “The ear that listens…” The act of listening requires one’s full attention. The end desired in listening is understanding. To listen well to a reproof, a salutary reproof, requires that we be humble enough to hear it in its proper intent. It implies that we must accept the fact that we did something wrong in either our words or our actions. This is why the latter part of the aphorism is important too. It is important for the baptized Christian to know that he or she is still a sinner. If we think that we do no wrong, or if we believe that because we are baptized we will never sin again, we are in danger of losing our souls. For such thinking is rooted in the foolish pride of the devil. That is why we need to find a home among those who are wise. Especially those who are wise in the faith, in the ways of God. For when they reprove us, it…
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