Word of the Week: Correction

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism,” once quipped the late Norman Vincent Peale, who was known for his classic “The Power of Positive Thinking.”

Even Peale realized that positive thinking and perpetual praise it is not enough. There are times in our lives when we all need to make changes. Modify our behavior. And make correction in the direction our life is taking.

Yesterday, I taught the Bible class at the Seminole church in Tampa about parent-child relationships from the book of Proverbs. The wise man reminds mothers and fathers they have an important role in forming the character of their child through teaching, training, admonition as well as correction.

A fool despises his father’s instruction,
But he who receives correction is prudent.
–Prov. 15:5

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of correction will drive it far from him.
Prov 22:15

The rod of correction imparts wisdom,
but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.
–Prov 29:15

Corrective discipline is not pleasant. But it is needful. However, the challenge is correcting the parenting skills of mothers and fathers. Unfortunately, too many parents not only reject the teaching on corporal punishment but sorely neglect correcting their children’s behavior.

I suppose it’s because adults don’t like correction either. “Don’t tell me how to raise my children,” they retort. The same folks also rejoin, “Don’t tell me how to live my life.”

Well, Solomon also had something to say to adults who disdain correction.

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor detest His correction;
For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
–Prov 3:11

He who heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
–Prov 10:17

Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge,
But he who hates correction is stupid.
–Prov 12:1

Correction can come from many different sources. If you have a close friend who loves you enough to offer correction, be thankful. They care about you. They’re trying to help you. And possibly save you from disaster. “If someone corrects you,” observed Nouman Ali Khan, “and you feel offended, then you have an ego problem.”

Preachers, pastors and Bible teachers have a wonderful opportunity to help others correct their lives through God’s Word. The apostle Paul affirmed that
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).
The Bible tells us what is right. What’s not right. How to get right. And how to stay right.

When you hear a sermon or sit in a Bible class, listen with that thought in mind. Be willing to accept and apply the Truth to your life. If the Bible shines the light on a flaw in my life, then humility and love for the Lord ought to result in correction.

Of course, I don’t have to wait for someone else to correct me, I can learn the art of self-correction. This requires personal examination (2 Cor. 13:5). Demands honesty. And calls for me to see myself as God sees me. It’s difficult. Because we tend to think we’re better than we are. Or we make excuses for our shortcomings.

Also, a word of advice when correcting others. Do it in the spirit of Galatians 6:1-2. Be gentle. Be kind. Approach it with the realization that you too have faults. Be the kind of person once described by famed basketball coach John Wooden, “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

Finally, in the words of my favorite author anonymous, “Everyone makes mistakes; it’s how you respond to correction that shows the level of your character.”

-Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

5 Comments

Filed under Word of the Week

5 responses to “Word of the Week: Correction

  1. Well said, Ken.
    When talking to dads about adoption we often state that the real grace of adoption isn’t food on the table and a roof over their heads it is exactly this training and correction. The real work and grace in adoption is being a “father”. Parenting is real and real good work. A mission field we often overlook with our own children and those who are fatherless.

  2. Larry Hafley

    Ken, your first and last paragraphs were the perfect way to begin and end this excellent article.  Thank you for writing it!   Larry  

  3. Philip North

    Well said, Brother Ken, and that goes for all throughout your article. I for one, from my childhood to this day, do not believe that it is wrong for a young person to correct an adult, IF that correction is done respectfully. Who says that one quits being wrong about some things and some people when reaching adulthood? Does graduating into adulthood mean that sinless perfection has been achieved? Besides, all of us as older adults need to watch our egos and vanities here! Are we not to grow old gracefully (Ecclesiastes 4:13)?

  4. Ken you are spot on to say…’Correction can come from many different sources. If you have a close friend who loves you enough to offer correction, be thankful. They care about you. They’re trying to help you. And possibly save you from disaster. “If someone corrects you,” observed Nouman Ali Khan, “and you feel offended, then you have an ego problem.”’

    Just before the Crucifixion, the Blaspheme charge that Jesus received from Nicodemus an honourable member of the Assembly would have been like a sting from a gadfly. Nicodemus was teacher and a someone very dear to Jesus’ heart. And upon realizing how much Nicodemus cared, Jesus did not take offence. Jesus took this sting positively as a corrective. For indeed, according to Nicodemus, Jesus needed to remember and show and tell the disciples that Christ was the Bride who belongs to the Bridegroom (John 3:29)–there had to be a marriage…and

    Jesus needed to impart this imperative to SIMON….Christ the Everlasting Father so that the two could rise as ONE in TRUTH & SPIRIT and be received by the Rabboni and his disciples joyfully in the house of his dear wife and gracious Lady …Anna…Beth anny (Luke 24:34;50).

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