Like a gold ring and a fine gold ornament, so is constructive criticism to the ear of one who listens.
(Pro 25:12 GW)
Who likes to be criticized? Before you think this is a rhetorical question with the obvious answer, “nobody,” consider the message of this proverb. If you have the kind of ear that doesn’t listen, then criticism is most likely going to go in your one ear and out the other. However if you have a listening ear, as the proverb says, then criticism is of immense value, comparable to jewelry made of precious metals. How many of us have the nobility in our character to consider constructive criticism to be valuable; something we would pursue? It’s not always my first inclination.
There is another element to this. Other translations specify not just constructive criticism, but that it should come from a “wise reprover.” So to clarify, we should seek the reproof of the wise, not just any old man on the street. However, reproof is a strong word. According to the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions (Strong’s number H3198), the word can mean a number of things including, “rebuke, reprove, correct, chasten.” In other words we’re not necessarily talking about a polite exchange of some friendly advice.
However, if it comes from somebody wise – somebody who’s character and life experience has earned them a place among those worth listening too – then such a chastening is well worth it!