Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Correction Refused

If there is anything that I've learned in years of studying the Bible, it's that none of us are perfect. We all still fall so desperately short of God's ideal for us. It's been said that God will allow us to come to Him just the way that we are, but He loves us too much to let us stay that way. Determined not to give up on us, He brings correction into our lives. II Timothy 3:16-17 says that all Scripture is "inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." From this verse we see that God has given us His Word for the purpose of reproving, correcting, training and equipping us.

Understanding all of that, and I don't know of one Christian that would deny it (at least not in my circles), why is it that we find it so hard to accept correction? I don't think any of us would say that we are perfect. Most of us readily admit that we are flawed to the bone. Don't believe me? Ask your family and friends to be honest with you. We all have our shortcomings, faults and blind spots. No sane person would deny that. All that said, why can we not handle correction?

As I look back over my years of ministry and all of the people that God has brought in and out of my life, it saddens me to remember all of those who simply could not be corrected. It didn't matter how I told them. I could be direct. I could beat around the bush for a little while. Take them to lunch. Try to break it gently, etc… It was all to no avail. In the end, the correction was rejected and the relationship lost. An old preacher friend of mine told me one time, "Son, you can pat them on the back ninety-nine times, but correct them one time and they'll hate you forever." Why is that? Proverbs 12:1 says, "Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid." That's some pretty strong language coming out of the Bible! Jeremiah 5:3 says, "O Lord, do not Your eyes look for truth? You have smitten them, but they did not weaken; You have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent."

In the end, I'm forced to conclude that we are simply an arrogant lot. Our American culture has convinced us that we have the right to be right. Proverbs 16:25 says, "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." The writer of Proverbs also wrote, "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance…" Take that last verse to its conclusion and you arrive at the fact that those who do not and will not except correction do not fear God. How truly sad.

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