Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
Lovingly Accepting Correction
How many times in your life have you been corrected, even lovingly, by someone and your reaction was not a very Christ-honoring one? What is even more difficult is how many times were those corrections needed because they were right? Maybe the correction came from your spouse, a dear friend, or a family member.
My husband, being the one closest to me, lovingly corrects me the most. I know I should be thankful when he points out how I mishandled or didn't respond properly in a situation. Many times my response to him is not very kind and even though I may not always verbalize what I am feeling at that moment – I am thinking of it. My feelings of hurt or anger are real, but they aren't right.
We tend to think as the world does that these feelings are just natural and we should openly express what we are feeling. We should just be honest. This is not true. If our feelings are wrong, it is not going to get any better by expressing them verbally. Whether or not the correction was justified or right does not give me the right to respond with a sinful attitude or thought life.
The Lord brings about these difficult situations for our good. If you are in Christ, know that He is working everything for your good. I know it is easy to say and the words may be difficult to hear. The thought of our pride or ego being hurt because someone has seen an area of weakness in our life can be very humbling. Take your eyes off yourself and how others see you and put your eyes on Christ. This is the time to give thanks to God for revealing these areas that need to be brought into obedience to God's Word.
Our Right Response
What is the right response to correction whether or not the correction is right or done lovingly and in humility?
-Pray before you respond. Ask the Lord to grant you the spirit of humility and that we would see the truth in the correction and not just block it out because we don't like what we are hearing.
-Take the time to listen to what is being said and do not get defensive or angry. Pray that you will respond in humility and extend to them grace and mercy.
-Thank them for loving you enough to be concerned and for trusting your relationship to overcome the fear of man in dealing with whatever the issue is that needed to be addressed or corrected.
-Put on the mind of Christ. When we are responding in anger that is of the flesh. Respond in the Spirit and let God renew your mind (Romans 12:1-2) so you can see clearly that the reproof may have been necessary and for your benefit.
-Our natural minds don't like to be told they are wrong. We would prefer to be right, but the mind of Christ will be submissive to correction and truth knowing that it will draw them closer to Him.
-In our pridefulness, we will just want to dismiss the correction or criticism instead of truly examining ourselves and asking the Lord to change us if this is true about us.
Blessings From a Right Response
When you put on the mind of Christ and respond in a God-honoring way, any feelings of anger or bitterness that would have been welling up in you are dissipated. You have been made aware of an area of sin in your life that you need to turn over to Christ and ask Him to help you overcome. Your Lord has not been dishonored in this interaction but glorified in and through your right response through the work of the Holy Spirit.
“Submission to the authority of Christ brings authority over the self.”
The Glorious Gospel
We need to repent of these sins that were brought to our attention and give thanks that the Lord will give us the grace needed to overcome them. It was because of our sin that Jesus had to go to the cross. Thank them for the reminder of the Gospel and pray that they will let you know when they see you dishonoring the Lord. We have the power to change through Him who saved us. Be thankful for friends who help us to see where we need to change.
Give thanks for the reminder of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is only in the Gospel that we have hope.
“Many years ago I came across a quote from Martin Luther about personal criticism from unfriendly critics. Luther’s point was that no matter how bad the personal criticisms—no matter how accurate, or inaccurate, the accusations—there is more sin in each of our hearts than a critic could ever discover.”
~ C. J. Mahaney