After Jesus’ crucifixion, how many of Israel’s leaders went home to their wives and said of Jesus, “He just wouldn’t be told!”?
Correction is a tricky business at the best of times. Given the chance, we attempt to modify the behaviour of those around us according to our habits and convictions. If those habits and convictions include a desire to seek out new ideas and include new people, then our attempts at betterment will probably be well received. But if not, we shouldn’t be surprised if our attempts to change things are greeted as heartily as rain on a parade.
This, of course, calls for wisdom. Just as God shows His love toward us by correcting us (Proverbs 3:12), we show love toward others by correcting them. This isn’t an option. For Christianity is all about conforming to the mind of Christ, and this requires constant adjustments to thoughts and actions. We only help each other to destruction by ignoring bad language, lying, harsh criticism, a condescending spirit, standoffishness, laziness, stinginess, and general blindness to our shortcomings (to name but a few).
Being teachable means being correctable. If a person has been baptised without crucifying his unteachable spirit, everyone had better accept that he has done nothing more than gotten wet. Churches go nowhere when members see any suggestion of correction as an insult.
There is no doubt that much offense has been caused through unkind correction. But lest we miss our point: Even unkindness should not prevent us from accepting correction if it is necessary to growth and salvation.
And yes, when you see me going wrong, I do want you correct me. But please, “break it to me gently.”
“Do not correct those who make fun of wisdom, or they will hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you” (Proverbs 9:8 NCV)