He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him.
Psalm 103:10-11 AMP **
Would those who don’t like being corrected please raise your right hand?
Raise it high folks.
Can you see mine? It’s there, at least it use to be. Being the strong willed child, correction was not a favorite pastime of mine. Even within the bounds of my spiritual walk, I vehemently did not appreciate nor enjoy correction. I stiffened at the thought of being told I was wrong, even in the ring of spiritual circles. Never did I see it as guidance, never did I view correction as loving and gentle. I saw it as a poke at my ability or worthiness. Rebellion screamed aloud, “Don’t take it!”
However, as the Lord and I have journeyed down the road of maturity, the view of correction has changed and continues to even as I write this. The hand that would so quickly and easily raise in the past now lays still, as my heart and head have come to understand that with maturity comes accepting God’s correction, even when it comes through people. Those who truly love you, who are walking in the counsel of the Holy Spirit, will lovingly offer correction. It’s necessary for spiritual growth.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children…
Hebrews 12:6-7 The Message
Our family recently attended the change of command ceremony for a friend and Christian sister here in Hawaii. She was taking the reins of her Army Reserve unit and we were thrilled to join her for this honor.
Being a Navy family, we’re familiar with change of command ceremonies. They happen often. The Navy versions typically include a white tent situated on a ship or they take place in a building located on base. The Army ceremony we attended was outdoors and we were seated underneath a camouflage netting along with a dozen or so people. Can you imagine the excitement of our three children, especially the two boys, with this? (And their mama too honestly!) They were thrilled to be “playing” Army in the midst of a ceremony. It was a big batch of fun stuff!
As the Star Spangled Banner began playing, I happened to notice a sweet gesture by a mother in front of us. She lovingly reached down and gently picked up her small daughter’s hand. It was loving correction in action. Up and to that point, the little girl simply stood, her arms moving here and there, oblivious to the fact that putting her hand on her heart would be a great display of honor and would be appropriate in this situation. With the utmost love and concern, the mother gently took hold of her young daughter’s hand and set it onto her tiny heart at the onset of the national anthem. No longer were the girls’ hands moving about, they were now in position and ready to show honor and respect. She had been guided to “the right way” in a loving manner, and she didn’t shun the guidance, the correction. There were no threats, no yelling, no condemnation. It was all out of love.
Often we have those “mothers” in the faith who are put into our lives, by God, to help guide us, correct us, and love on us. They are mentors who cheer for our spiritual success and desire to see us prosper in His goodness. Sometimes, however, they also have to speak the truth in love, gently placing that “hand”, like the little girl’s, in its appropriate position, relaying guidance or correction instead.
It’s not always easy to accept, but I truly believe we should listen in humility, not run away with pride, hurt, anger, or offense. Each word should be taken to the Lord and set in front of Him for clarification and verification, showing that we are open to correction. If it’s not the Lord, that will surface. However, I shudder to think of the growth opportunities, those loving nudges from God, we are missing simply because we don’t like the correction and refuse to consider it. The pride smothers our maturity.
Recently I had a correction situation in my own life from one of my mentors. It wasn’t easy hearing the loving words of guidance and correction, at least not with pouting flesh. However, the Lord has been faithful to teach me that the flesh is anything but trustworthy. Be assured, however, that His grace is sufficient, and that it’s OK to set yourself and the situation in front of the Lord, especially when the initial response to the correction is an emotional one. (If you hear, “I’m not wrong,” have hurt feelings, take offense, want to talk about the person who corrected you in a negative light, or feel yourself withdrawing, you’re likely dealing with emotions.) Choosing to set it in front of the Lord is a sign of humility, a sign that we realize we might not necessarily know everything, but the Lord does. It’s realizing our strength is weak, but the power of the cross is great, and that quite possibly we need correction.
In my particular situation, my mentor and I discussed the situation a couple of times. I also talked with a sweet friend who was my mentor several years ago and still holds a dear spot in my heart. Obviously, neither of these ladies are God, but both are seasoned Christians who have been willing to speak the truth in love in the past and have been placed in my life by the Lord. They were not emotionally connected like I was. It was easier for them to view the situation with discernment, with hearts that wanted God’s best. The end result was that both women, without knowing what the other said, spoke the same thing into my life. That was the point at which I knew God was coming in loud and clear. I needed to be open to His correction.
So I ask you, do you raise your hand to that earlier question, the one about not liking correction? Or, do you welcome correction, realizing that it very well could be an embrace by a loving Father? (I love that part of Hebrews 12:6-7. An embrace, what a great thing!) Have you given it thought? If not, I pray today’s post will hit home, calling each of us to consider the embrace of His correction as we bow in humility versus standing in pride during our walk down maturity’s path. Set your prayer in front of our very real God as you continue down that narrow path. It’s not always easy to consider the correction, but when it’s God, it’s an embrace, it’s love, and it’s always another step in maturity.
Be encouraged as you press on in the love of Jesus!