Friday, March 28, 2014

I Stand Corrected - Lenten Journey Day 20 Devotional - March 27, 2014

“For the LORD corrects those he loves…” – Proverbs 3:12

Words.  Yes, more on words.

God is really beating this one into our brains, eh?  And for good reason.  Words are powerful… we’ve already established that.

Now there are words we should not say, and there are words we should.

This morning I woke up to an email from a friend.  The moment I read, “I love you but,…..”  I knew that a correction was soon to follow.  If you met me a while back, those words would’ve spurred mild anxiety.  I was never a fan of criticism.  Who likes hearing when they mess up??  

I don’t.

However, since my life has taken many humbling turns recently, I’ve learned to value correction from others, AND from God. 

“For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. “  - Proverbs 3:12

Correction is a form of love, not malice!  Isn’t that amazing?  Because God loves us, He corrects us.  So when we see another making mistakes, we owe it to them to tell the truth.   

Now, before you go on a “tell-it-like-it-is” spree, there is a way to correct.  Let’s start with what correction is not.

Correction does NOT come from a place of criticism or faultfinding.  I know some that take pride in being blunt.  They tell the truth by any means necessary.  If you don't like it: TOUGH.  They are verbal landmines.  But our correction should be tempered with mercy.  In fact, James 2:13 notes that if we fail to show mercy to others, we forego God’s mercy on us, “because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Correction Does NOT come from a place of self-righteousness.   News flash: none of us is perfect.

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” – Romans 2:1 (See also Romans 14:13)

We all make mistakes.  If your correction is peppered with “I can’t believe you” or “I would never”, that is self-righteousness.  You’re tearing down another in order to build yourself up. 

A critical spirit is destructive.

Correction is constructive.

Correction comes from a place of love and compassion.
“Let all your things be done with [love].” 1 Corinthians 16:14

Correction comes to bring life and edify.
“A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.” - Proverbs 15:4

Correction is directed by the Holy Spirit and not our own opinions; it is a form of wisdom that helps lift others up to the standard they belong. 

Just recently, I had another friend of mine offer to help in my search for a new employer.  I sent her my resume and she began to pick it apart!   “Oh NO NO NO, Julia!  This will not work! You have to do this over,” she exclaimed.  For a moment I felt crushed; I’m already in a very fragile place professionally.  However, the more I listened to her the more the Holy Spirit spoke into me, “she’s trying to help you shine.”  I began to hear her feedback in a different light.  In all my searching, she was the first one boldly loving enough to steer me in the right direction.  And, she was right!  I went right to work getting it revised.  I was so extremely thankful to her for loving me enough to tell me the truth. 

I’ve also had the exact opposite.  Loved ones who were too afraid or uncomfortable to step in and provide constructive correction.  Holding back the truth may be the easiest choice, but it’s not the most loving.  When you see another heading down the wrong path, let them know!

Correction takes courage.
It takes courage to correct those you love.
It takes courage to accept correction and let it make you better.  It takes courage to allow others to be your compass.

If you don’t have a “compass” in your life, I suggest you find one.  There is tremendous value in having people around you who aren’t “yes” men/women.  They hold you to a standard that brings growth and maturity in your life.

So I’m thankful for my friend’s message today.  Her correction leads to my construction.  Each day I am becoming stronger, wiser, and more loving because of my loving correctors

Let’s pray:  Father God, give us wisdom to speak words of truth and edification to others.  When we see another going in the wrong direction, give us the words to steer them back on track.  May all my words be spoken in love and with the same depth of grace and mercy that You have poured out on me.  In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.

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