Responding to Correction

The ability for people to shift blame and excuse just about any behavior as justifiable has reached previously unimaginable proportions today. I read a story about a college student who was caught for plagiarizing written assignments for his classes. Instead of remorse, regret and a change of behavior, this student chose a different course of action.  He sued the institution for negligence since, in his own admission, he plagiarized all his papers for 3 years and ‘never dreamed it was a problem.’ His conjecture was that university should have been more careful and diligent to warn him that his actions were against the regulations instead of allowing him to get to the end of his academic career before enforcing the rules!

I guess it’s within all of us to look for someone else to be at fault for our poor choices. I mean, it began in the Garden of Eden when Eve blamed Satan for tempting her with the forbidden fruit, and Adam turned right around and pointed his finger at God for giving Eve to him! Maybe we should have all learned something from the fall by now, but that’s unfortunately not usually the case.

So, if you’re willing to be challenged, instead of falling in line with the current culture of looking to the behavior or motivations of others… take a minute to think about and examine yourself.

As a believer in Jesus, what do you do when someone points out where you are wrong? Do you argue? Defend yourself? Justify? Shift blame?

Have you ever considered that those natural responses could actually short-circuit the refining purpose of the Holy Spirit in your life or interfere with your ability to share the Gospel effectively and lead others to Jesus?

Read this verse from Proverbs 10: 17 slowly.
He who heeds discipline shows the way to life but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

This verse gives us an interesting take on the importance of learning how to correctly respond to criticism and correction. It’s more than good for just your interpersonal skills! Solomon says that responding with humility to correction opens the pathway to the truth and conversely, when you are resistant to correction, you may unintentionally block the path to life! That’s a profound thought to consider because so often believers are much like everyone else and don’t particularly receive correction very well. But could it be that when you lash back at those who point out areas of weakness, you become so much like the world in your response that you unintentionally tell people around you that your faith makes no difference at all?

Paul warned believers to resist the temptation to become self-focused and set aside our ‘me-centered’ mindset and intentionally think about others first. Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

When you choose deliberately to respond to even undue or incorrect criticism with a spirit of humility and gentleness, it takes you farther down the road of sanctification, and speaks volumes to unbelievers about the validity of your faith in God.


16 thoughts on “Responding to Correction

  1. Correction is always painful…and too often, I try to ignore it. But in His faithfulness, God continues to provide opportunities for me to learn. Life would be less painful if I responded to correction with humility, to begin with!

  2. Great reminder. I am often quick to defend myself. But when I can step back and just listen, try to put myself in their shoes, and see if there is any truth in what the other person is saying, I am not so quick to defend myself. And needless to say, there is less blaming and arguing. Correction can be hard to hear, but so necessary for our growth.

  3. Love this, Karen. So true. The blame game started with the first people, Adam and Eve, and the finger-pointing and wagging has continued. What a crazy and sad story about the college student who turned everything around for his own benefit. My husband is a pastor and we know that spiritual discipline is biblical. Yet, it’s often true that even those in the church or believers don’t want to take accountability for their wrong words or actions. I like how you ended the article, when we respond with respect and humility, we are taken down the road closer to sanctification. Thanks for this reminder. Visiting from #heartencouragement

    1. I’m constantly amazed at the words and actions that spill out of believer’s lives. (sometimes my own) The real changes begin to happen when we learn to value godliness and holiness more that being ‘right.’ thanks Karen! following you on twitter now!

  4. “When you choose deliberately to respond to even undue or incorrect criticism with a spirit of humility and gentleness, it takes you farther down the road of sanctification, and speaks volumes to unbelievers about the validity of your faith in God.” That statement is so true, but sometimes very hard to put into action. May God give us the grace to examine ourselves and respond in a way that is pleasing to Him.

    Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor at #TuneInThursday

    1. Its terrifically hard to respond to accusations with humility and gentleness! But thank goodness we aren’t left to muster it up from within us, but can rely on the Holy Spirit to do within us that which we can’t do alone. Thanks Gayl!

  5. Our world would be a much better place to live if people weren’t so “me” focused. I don’t want to lead myself or any others astray. Thank you for the powerful reminder of self-examination and putting others first.

    1. The Bible calls Satan the accuser of the brethren, so we are never more like him than when we point our fingers at other people. We have to decide who we really want to be like… unjustly accused like Jesus or becoming the accuser like Satan.

  6. I’ve been guilty of not receiving correction well. But in time, it sunk in and I realized it was needed. Humility is a hard thing to muster up, but what a wonderful gift it is! Both to ourselves and to the world. Jesus was the perfect example. Thanks for the encouragement here to respond better.

    1. I heard a pastor say once… humble yourself before the Lord, and then let Him do the lifting. The alternative is for us to lift ourselves and then God will do the humbling. Wise words to think about, amen?

  7. The older I get, the more I understand the wisdom of truly listening first, and heeding the words being given instead of jumping to conclusions about the motive behind them. Often I find the value of those words can be such a gift!
    Glad I was your neighbor at the #RechargeWednesday linkup!

    1. Listening is a skill we never need stop trying to develop. I tell my kids to ‘listen to those who you don’t get along with you since sometimes even your enemies will tell you the truth.’ thanks for stopping by!

  8. I’ve had the experience a couple of times recently of receiving input from editors about posts I had submitted for their sites. Both were accepted, but both required some additional work, and I was thankful to find that I was glad for the corrections because I wanted to produce the best work possible.
    (And what a gift to actually have a second pair of eyes looking at my work before it hits the air!)

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