Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Learning From Correction
I read recently about a wife who who frustrated at always being corrected by her husband. She decided the next time it happened she would have a comeback. That moment finally arrived, and she was ready.
"You know," she challenged, "even a broken clock is right once a day."
He looked at her and replied, "Twice."
Nobody enjoys being corrected, even if it's done in a kind, loving way. But correction may serve a useful purpose. We need to listen to it and, if possible, profit by it.
As someone has said, "We learn much from the disagreeable things people say, for they make us think, whereas the good things only make us glad."
For Christians, correction should be a stepping-stone to spiritual growth! It's an opportunity to learn what we're doing wrong and what we need to do better. It provides us with the motivation we need to change and mature.
But our pride often stands in the way of our gaining anything from correction. We don't want to admit our shortcomings. We react to admonishment by pouting, retaliating in anger or attempting to rationalize our behavior.
Peter is a good example for us. He had a lot of excellent qualities that made him a great servant of God -- his leadership, his frankness, his energy, his devotion. But there's one quality in particular that helped Peter grow to the great leader that he was. Peter was correctable. And a correctable person is able to learn and grow.
On at least eight different occasions, the Bible tells us that Peter blew it. He sank in the Sea of Galilee. He rebuked Jesus for talking about his death. He spoke out of turn at the transfiguration. He initially refused to let Jesus wash his feet. He went to sleep in Gethsemane. He cut off the ear of Malchus. He denied any relationship with Jesus. And he practiced racial discrimination against his Gentile brothers at Antioch.
And every time he failed, Peter received some kind of admonition, usually verbal -- from Paul, from Jesus, from God. And each time, Peter humbly received his admonition, then pressed on in his Master's service.
"If you listen to correction to improve your life, you will live among the wise. Those who refuse correction hate themselves, but those who accept correction gain understanding." (Proverbs 15:31-32, NCV)