Scott LaPierre is the author of Marriage God’s Way and the senior pastor of Woodland Christian Church.
He and his wife, Katie, have six children. I am excited to have him on my blog for a number of guest posts over the coming months, beginning with this post on receiving correction!
Receiving correction is an important part of the Christian life. Why is that the case? Each of us is a sinner. We need others to help us see our faults and weaknesses. While some people like to say judging others is wrong, Scripture presents a number of benefits associated with receiving correction. Here are four of them!
1. Receiving correction protects against bitterness.
When we sin against others it creates an offense. People we have upset have to be able to talk to us about what we’ve done wrong. The alternative is the person might become bitter, and that can have far-reaching consequences:
Hebrews 12:15b Lest any root of bitterness spring up causing trouble, and by this many become defiled.
Nothing ruins relationships faster than having an offense but not being able to go to the person that caused the offense. If we hurt others and they can’t talk to us the hurt will fester, creating anger and hostility.
People treat us differently when we offend them. We will say, “Is everything okay. Did I do something wrong?” They have to be able to answer this honestly for the relationship to improve.
2. Receiving correction allows relationships to grow.
When correction can’t be given in a relationship, it’s almost impossible to move beyond a superficial level. Relationships that can’t discuss hurts or offenses are completely shallow. A real friendship – whether in a family or in the church – should be able to see either of the following take place:
- “You shouldn’t have _______”followed by the response, “Thank you for pointing that out to me.”
- “It hurt me when you _______”followed by the response, “I’m sorry for _______, will you please forgive me?”
Proverbs 15:1 says that it is, “to [others] glory to overlook an offense.” This verse only applies if the person can overlook the offense! If they can’t, then they have to be able to share how we have offended them.
3. Receiving correction fosters spiritual growth.
Correction is vitally important to our sanctification. Maturing often takes place when the Holy Spirit convicts us about a weakness or failure. One of the most common ways the Holy Spirit does this is through others correcting us. Those closest to us see those blind spots we don’t recognize.
When we receive correction, but respond poorly we hamper our spiritual growth. Getting upset, making excuses, or turning the tables only serves to cause us problems in the long run. This is why the Bible places so much emphasis on the way we respond to correction:
Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored (Proverbs 13:18)
Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, and he who hates correction will die (Proverbs 13:18)
The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding (Proverbs 15:31-32)
He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy (Proverbs 29:1)
This is especially important in the relationship between husbands and wives. Why? Men are called to be leaders, and one of the best ways they lead is through setting a humble example.
4. Receiving correction strengthens friendships
Many verses in Scripture associate correction with friendship.
Proverbs 9:8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
He will love you, because he has the wisdom to recognize you have done him a favor.
David saw it as an act of great friendship to be rebuked by someone:
Psalm 141:5 Let the righteous strike me;
It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me;
It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it.
David invited correction, because he knew how important it was to living a life for the Lord.
When we are in sin, it is a friend who will correct us. It is an enemy that will remain silent:
Proverbs 27:5 Open rebuke is better
Than love carefully concealed.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
A true friend will correct – or wound – us at times. People who encourage you when you’re in sin are not just unloving, but are identified as enemies.
Ecclesiastes 7:5 says the same thing in different words:
It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise
Than for a man to hear the song of fools.
Comparing Proverbs 27:6 and Ecclesiastes 7:5 it is better to be rebuked or wounded by someone wise than sung to or praised by an enemy.
Discuss in the comments section: How do you respond when people correct you? Do you have the humility to receive correction from others?