We’ve all been there…someone in authority over us comes to us and lets us know that they need to talk to us privately. Then, we get to the closed door room and we are confronted with something we may have said or done that is needing to be corrected. I know I’ve been there COUNTLESS times (you’d think I’d learn by now…slow learner).
But, how one corrects and how one receives that correction can leave a lasting impact on someone’s life…for good or for bad.
In a situation where correction is being given and received, there are two variables at play: the one giving the correction AND the one receiving the correction.
Not surprisingly, the one giving correction can only control how they give it and the one receiving it can only control how they receive it.
For instance, as one who is giving correction, I could totally lose my cool and correct in anger and lose any and all compassion for the one receiving it. Obviously, this will have a serious and likely negative impact on the one receiving the correction.
However, as one giving correction, I could come to the moment and provide the correction in compassion and in love, having let my anger subside (if there was any) and provide the correction in as firm a way possible but in as loving a way possible.
At that point, the ball is in the receiver’s court.
As the one receiving the correction, I could become offended that I’m being corrected, or angry that I’m being corrected, and totally lose sight of what is actually being said and how it is being said…ultimately walking away from the situation a more angry and bitter person, and potentially scaring my outlook on the one who gave the correction.
Conversely, as the one receiving the correction, I could still likely get angry or upset in the moment but not allowing my anger to cloud my ability to hear the correction, or the tone that it is given in, or hear the words of love and affirmation that may (and should) accompany the correction.
Recently I was corrected for something I had done. I wrote about that in another blog HERE. And fortunately for both myself (the receiver) and the one providing the correction (my pastor), the entire situation was handled with grace, love, and understanding on both sides of the discussion.
And because of this, that moment of correction has become a testament and a memorial to who I once was and who I am becoming.
In fact, I was able to use this very moment of correction to provide encouragement to another man I was talking to about his concerns in potentially becoming leadership and an elder in his church.
His concern was that he might mess up.
To which I responded, “Oh you will. We all do. I have, and this is how it turned out with my pastor.” It spoke encouragement to him as he was able to look at that moment in my life and say that he firmly believed his pastor would do the same, and oddly enough it actually spoke to me as I was speaking those words with this friend of mine.
I’m reminded of Proverbs 27:6 NASB which states,
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
When the correction is given as a friend and received as that of coming from a friend, it can make all the difference in the world in that moment.
I write all of this to say that to anyone providing correction or receiving it, be conscious of how you go about correcting and receiving correction. Do not allow your anger to direct your correction as the giver, and do not allow an offense to deafen you to the correction as a receiver.
If handled appropriately on both sides of the table, that moment of correction could become a memorial for you as well, and can be looked on as a moment of positive change for you, and may even serve as encouragement to another.