Raise your hand if you like to receive correction? Just what I suspected — none of us.
Whether it is in marriage, the workplace, or at church, receiving correction is tough. Yet it is an inescapable fact that correction is a HUGE tool for growth, transformation, and personal development. People who constantly reject correction are stunted.
How we respond to correction is an indicator of our wisdom. Yes, it indicates our wisdom. We cannot avoid that reality if we read the Bible.
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be wiser still. — Proverbs 9:8-9
The ear that hears the rebukes of life of will abide among the wise. — Proverbs 15:31
Wise people receive correction. And Proverbs connects wisdom with humility.
But with the humble is wisdom. — Proverbs 11:2b
Being foolish and proud will prevent us from receiving correction.
The Bible contains another implication for those who lead people.
Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. — Proverbs 10:17
We will literally lead others astray if we reject correction. Think about that for a minute. So, if I am un-teachable and resist correction it could impact my children, co-workers, the community in which I live, and my church. Those are big implications.
Here’s how correction goes down: A flawed person points out our flaw. It could be our mate, co-worker, or co-teacher in the Bible study we lead. It could be random church member, someone in our community or a dear, dear friend.
Could God use a less-than-perfect tool in His hand to shed light on the flaws of people who are prone to blind spots?
1 Corinthians 4:14-21
I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me. For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?”
And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.”
So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good.”
- It is rarely delivered in a completely pleasing manner or context.
- The person who delivered it is flawed. Maybe even more flawed than we are.
- We love ourselves. (A lot)
- We are self-deceived about our true condition.
Disclaimer — Very rarely if ever, actually, is this my first, instinctual response: “Thank you very much. I needed that.” (Think angry lioness attacking a prey.)
- With a grace-filled reaction. We must lead our heart and not follow it in this moment. Pause, take a deep breath and fight for a gracious response, even if every fiber of your being is saying the exact opposite.
- Resist being defensive. Being argumentative at this point is not wise. Perhaps there are some facts to settle but press pause on that interchange. Your heart will lie to you until God overrides it with His loving truth about your condition.
- Lean in and learn. Not every correction is completely true but nearly all have a kernel of truth. Sifting the words back to God for His confirmation is key. Correction will sting but it is often a tool used in the hand of God. Wise people allow correction to grow them and change them. This is very true in the workplace as well.
- Lead even in correction. We cannot lead others to places we have not gone. Receiving correction with wisdom and humility is a powerful example at home or at church.
Just as we correct our children to make them better people, God does the same for us.
Kathy Litton lives in Mobile, AL with her husband Ed Litton, Pastor of FBC North Mobile. Both lost former spouses in car accidents, and God uniquely gave them new love and life together in 2009. Kathy enjoyed 26 years of life and ministry alongside pastor Rick Ferguson. She has 3 children and 7 grandchildren.