GIVING CHRISTIAN CORRECTION

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GIVING CHRISTIAN CORRECTION

Recently I ran into a former member of staff; and she while she was relating to me the latest happenings in the department, she said, ‘they are doing things which, if you were still around, you would have screamed at them for it.’ And that got me thinking. How do we correct others? Do we scream and shout? Do we give our holier-than-thou face? Do we correct by deprivation? How should we correct?

Correction is, whether you like it or not, part and parcel of life. If you are a leader, there will be times when you need to correct your subordinates. If you are a teacher, there will surely be times when you need to correct your students. If you are a parent, you will have to correct your children. Indeed, correction is necessary as it is written,

“Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

So if we want the ones we love to walk the straight and narrow, correction is needed. And that is why, even for ourselves, we should

“Listen to counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction,
That you may be wise in the time to come.” Proverbs 19:20 [AMP]

“For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12

Therefore, “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.” Proverbs 3:11-12

So how should we correct?

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

When we give correction, we should not look at it as an exercise in pointing out the faults of others. Rather, we should use the opportunity to have that person be our mirror. Consider the fault that he has committed and think about how we might have, in the past, or would have, if given the same circumstances, committed the same fault. Take that as a wake-up call and be aware of just how susceptible we are to that same fault too.

A friend made a comment once that we should never criticize the flaws in another person’s spouse because we will end up marrying someone with that exact same set of flaws. You see, when she was younger, she used to criticize her friends’ choice of boyfriends, saying that she could never understand how anyone would want to marry a smoker, a workaholic and a mama’s boy. And guess who she married? That’s right, a man who smoked, spent more time in the office than the sun spent in the sky, and when he was not in the office, he was tied around his mother’s apron strings. What is the name of that song in The American Tail again? Ah yes, Never Say Never.

And that is so true, even for us, isn’t it? We see someone commit a mistake and we get critical. We ask how anyone could commit such a fundamental error and we use that mistake as a basis for questioning that person’s values and integrity. Then the very next time around, guess who is making that same mistake? Indeed,

“…you who are spiritual [that is, you who are responsive to the guidance of the Spirit] are to restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness [not with a sense of superiority or self-righteousness], keeping a watchful eye on yourself, so that you are not tempted as well.” Galatians 6:1 [AMP]

The chorus of Kenny Roger’s Coward of the County says,

“Promise me son
Not to do the things I’ve done.
Walk away from trouble, if you can.
It don’t mean you’re weak
If you turn the other cheek.
I hope you’re old enough to understand.
Son, you don’t have to fight to be a man.”

And if you’ve ever had long conversations with your dad or grandpa, you’ve probably heard their own version of this many times. And they mean well, don’t they? They have made their mistakes and they don’t want you to repeat them. Instead, they want you to learn from them, take their lives and their mistake as a mirror. Be aware of what could happen to you and look out for the warning signs so that you don’t make the same mistake.

Well, beloved, sometimes our Father wants the same for us. Yes, sometimes we need to learn by experiencing our own mistakes. But there are also times when our Father wants to save us the pain and teach us the pitfalls of our ways by giving us an example to learn from. And to that end, this episode comes to mind.

“Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” John 8:2-5

Look, I don’t care how right you try and live your life, sins of passion are well, driven my passion; irrational actions brought on by chemical imbalances in the brain. And I find it very difficult to believe that these men were never ever tempted by the same sin of adultery, never mind commit the sin. For you know that according to Jesus, the true intent of the God’s law dictates that

“…whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28

So while it was right that they should correct her and her partner, was it right for them to correct her so harshly? Should they have taken such a self-righteous tone, losing sight of the fact that they themselves could have been tempted as well?

Then look at the way Jesus corrected her.

“So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”” John 8:7-11

Do you think she went away corrected? Do you think the correction was effective? Do you think she will commit the same sin again without this episode flashing across her mind? I think you know.

Beloved, if we see error in others, we should correct, because we are called to help each other stay on the straight and narrow. Yet, we must always remember that we too are fallible. We too are imperfect. We too are susceptible to the same sin. So

“If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. …” Galatians 6:1 [MSG]
And if you are struggling with an area of your life and are wondering if God will correct you harshly; beloved, be at ease. Because you have put your trust in Jesus, you are our Father’s beloved child. He will not deal harshly with you. Just as Jesus was gentle with the woman brought before Him, just as He was gentle with all the sinners He came across, so too will He be gentle with you.

Now, don’t be mistaken. He will be firm; and just like the woman, you will know very clearly, what you should and should not do. But He will not hurt you, for Jesus said,

“…I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Mark 2:17

So beloved,

“Listen to counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction,
That you may be wise in the time to come.” Proverbs 19:20 [AMP]
“For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12

Therefore, “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.” Proverbs 3:11-12

And when you have a chance to correct, do it Jesus’ way, gently, and with love. And allow that experience to be a mirror, revealing to you the pitfalls that lie ahead.

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