Torchbearers for Christ
Thursday, June 21, 2018
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CORRECTION ? How do I take it?

How do I take correction? I am entitled to ask whether the person correcting me has my best interests at heart and also whether they are competent to correct me. It is true that every one of us needs to be corrected from time to time. Why is this? First of all, none of us is perfect and, unless we are corrected, we could go on making the same mistakes. However, it is important that the person who feels it necessary to correct us should do so lovingly and with a genuine desire to help us, rather than to humiliate us.
 
We could consider an example of helpful correction involving two Old Testament characters: Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro. The story is found in Exodus, chapter 18. God’s appointed leader was spending his time from morning until evening giving advice to people who had problems. Jethro felt this was unwise and so he said to Moses “The thing you are doing is not good.....it is too heavy for you”. Moses accepted his father-in-law’s advice and did all that he said. Jethro’s advice was given in Moses’ best interests. Indeed, had Moses failed to do as Jethro suggested, he may well have suffered serious consequences. Here we have an example of correction given with good intent and a satisfactory outcome.  Proverbs 15:5 tells us that “he who listens to reproof shows good sense”. On the other hand, we learn from Proverbs 12:1 that “He who hates correction is stupid”.
 
Much is to be gained when we heed helpful correction given by a suitable person. King David tells us in Psalm 141:5, how he welcomed correction. He says “Let the righteous smite me: it shall be a kindness and let him reprove me: it shall be an excellent oil which shall not break my head......” He also prayed in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting”. Surely this is a request we would all do well to pray regularly.
 
It is interesting to note that in the book of Proverbs, we have sixteen references about correction. The first is found in chapter 1:23, where God advises us: “Turn you at my reproof. Behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you. I will make known my words unto you”. What a rich reward is offered to us if we continually accept God’s correction! How does God speak to us? There are numbers of way in which He communicates with us. It may be when listening to a preacher, through our reading of God’s Word, accepting a friend’s advice or heeding the inner voice of conscience. Whichever way God chooses to speak with us, we are assured, “Blessed is the man that hears me” (Proverbs 8:34). 
 
In the New Testament, we have an excellent example of wise correction being given by suitable people to an open minded, godly man. The incident is recorded in Acts 16: 24-28. Here we are introduced to Apollos who is described as “an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures”. He was “fervent in the spirit; spoke and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John”. When preaching in the synagogue at Ephesus, Apollos was heard by Aquila and Priscilla, who were friends of Paul the apostle. These two recognised that Apollos needed enlightenment about the Holy Spirit and so we read how they “took him unto them and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly”. It is obvious that Apollos accepted the advice given to him because, following this encounter we read how he “mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ”. We can believe that Apollos, despite his exceptional ministry before meeting Aquila and Priscilla, was open to be introduced to a new level of spiritual understanding and also that Aquila and Priscilla were wise and loving in dealing with him.
 
So we conclude our thoughts on the subject of accepting correction with Psalm 15:31, which assures us that “The ear that hears the reproof of life abides among the wise”.   Amen.
 
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  For many years, he has traveled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.