Reaction: Good or Bad
Reactions to correction are obvious–good or bad, the reaction will come when corrected. What is your reaction when a person says, to you, “I’m going to be very frank with you.” It is doubtful that your response is to say, “Let me pull up a chair–I can’t wait to hear this!” Most likely, we shout for joy when they leave, yet what they said may have troubled our Spirit. All the joy seems to drain from us after those kinds of conversations. A word of correction or disagreement can seemingly rob us of anything positive that will happen the rest of the day, week, or month!
Generally, if your spirit is negative, your reaction will be defensive. Much like your physical body wants to fight or flee a dangerous situation, your spirit will tend to also either fight or flee. Your flesh riles up ready to receive a blow when someone says, “Let me be frank with you,” even though you do not know what they are about to say.
Compliments however, bring a positive response. Your spirit responds cheerfully when someone says something to compliment your appearance, words, actions, or achievements. In fact, if they want to compliment you, it would be best if they would do it in public so that everybody can witness your qualities. Words of correction for you–well, you want that done in private or not at all!
Comfort or Uncomfortable
Approaches from people who want to correct us are rarely comfortable. The soft approach is, “Well I’ve got some things I need to say to you–but first of all–let me tell you that I really love you and you’re a great person and there’s so many good things in your life but…” And then it comes. Then, there is the direct approach, “I’m not going to sugar coat this, so let me tell you…” Whether you want them to be sugary sweet, or just tell you what is wrong, you still have to deal with your reaction. The truth is that most of us usually resist facing up to our faults and we also tend to reject the person who delivers the correction. When that happens, we have another disagreement.
The Scripture reveals a penetrating truth at this point.
…in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth…
2 Timothy 2:25
Walking in the Spirit is extremely critical at this point of disagreements and correction. Relationships reveal whether each person is walking in the Spirit or walking in the flesh. Marriage or friendships do not cause us to be what we are it reveals what we are. The longer the relationship, the more a person should improve on how they receive a correction or deal with a disagreement. Why? Because over the course of time in that relationship, a Christian should have also grown in his/her relationship with Christ. This improvement causes a more consistent lifestyle of walking in the Spirit. A Spirit-filled person will have more consistent positive reactions. If the way you respond to the disagreement or correction is the same way as when you first became a Christian, you may not have walked in the Spirit enough to learn how to respond to those situations.
Jesus said in John 3:20, “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” We run away from, not toward, our faults. Our tendency is to shrink away from reproof and correction. When we are at fault we don’t want anyone to call it to our attention! Seems like a normal reaction, doesn’t it? But, if we do not deal with the fault, or sin, then it affects all of our relationships in a negative way. God puts key people in our lives to help bring to light our sin. This helps us to see ourselves from God’s perspective. This allows us to make the correction in our life and return to a vibrate relationship to Christ and others.
How did you respond to the last correction that came your way?
********From the book: “The Christian Life: A Human Impossibility.”