Proverbs 19:25 says the following:
Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
Some people are beaten into submission, The scoffer is irreverent, indecent, irresponsible, and incorrigible, and all you can do is strike him until he dies or changes his behavior. He must be taught the hard way, for he is a fool of the highest magnitude.
Some people are scared into submission. The simple-minded has not a love for God, a love for virtue, a love for wisdom, or a passion for righteous character. However, at least he has enough keenness to see the punishment being inflicted on his incorrigible neighbor and adjust his behavior out of fear and self-preservation. He too is a fool, just a sophomoric one.
Some people only need the suggestion of wisdom. The man of understanding merely needs a verbal reproof. Following this admonition, actions are adjusted, but knowledge is also gained. For them, a word to the wise is sufficient.
Therefore friends, which are you?
Are you the scoffer? Do you do right only because you can’t stand up and take a beating from the Lord any longer? Must God drop the hammer on you to get your attention?
Are you the simple? Do you only do right because you are scared God might discipline you as he did your neighbor? Is your sanctification based upon your love of pleasure and prosperity?
Or are you the understanding one? Are you passionate to worship, hungry to be righteous, eager to be taught the truth, humbled and willing to receive corrective admonition, and ready to quickly and thoroughly adjust your thinking and actions once educated from God’s Word.