I think it would be fair to say that most of us don't particularly enjoy being corrected, it goes against our nature.
One of the critical components of learning a language is to receive continual and consistent correction. If you think about it, we do that with our children as they begin to learn their first language. Our daughters will learn to speak English better and better as they add new words to their vocabulary and we as their parents gently correct them when they use a word incorrectly.
Learning Spanish has put us in the exact same position of needing to receive continual and consistent correction. Sometimes in my conversation class as I attempt to read a paragraph I have written in Spanish, I barely get two words out before the teacher is gently correcting what I have said (again). There are days when it feels as if I can say nothing right and afterwards I feel as if I have been beaten up. Sometimes even constructive correction can be painful.
Really there are two responses we can choose to have when we are given constructive correction.
1. We can choose to embrace it and appreciate it for what it is, a caring attempt to keep us on the right track. Or..
2. We can choose to fight against the correction, to resent it, and therefore receive little or no benefit from it.
So why in the world would someone fight against the caring attempts of another to keep them on the right track? One word for you:
It is terrible how often the "P" word comes up isn't it? But that is certainly the reason I fight against correction in my life. Because really what someone is saying when they give you correction is that you were wrong.
I don't like to be wrong. There, I said it. Are you happy now?
Who does like to be wrong though really? Maybe the guy whose job it is to predict devastating hurricanes. But I digress...Here is a quick summary of some great verses in the Book of Proverbs that speak to this issue:
Proverbs 5:12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;OK, so it is pretty important for us to be wise and heed the reproof and correction that the Lord gives us. But what about seeking out correction from God?
Proverbs 10:17 He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
Proverbs 12:1 Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.
Proverbs 13:18 Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
Proverbs 15:5 A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
Proverbs 15:10 Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.
Proverbs 15:31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.
Proverbs 15:32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
Proverbs 17:10 A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.
Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
We all know the old saying about being careful about praying for patience, because we only grow in patience as we are given opportunities to be patient. So should we seek out the correction and reproof of God even if it hurts? Even if we feel a little beat up afterwards?
The obvious, but difficult answer is yes. God's correction is given to us to keep us on track in His plan for our lives, to move us away from sin and toward His righteousness. To make us more like His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
So just as I must have consistent and continual correction as I learn to speak Spanish, we as Christians must have the consistent and continual correction of our Lord. I don't want to have bad habits in my Spanish where I say words or phrases incorrectly. Nor do I want to have bad habits or sin in my life that prevents or hinders me from completing every bit of the plan God has for my life.
God, I want your correction. I want your correction even if it hurts because I know it will yield fruit in my life to your glory if I will take heed to it.
When God gives you correction and reproof, which way do you choose to respond?