Giving correction is vitally important to the health and joy of marriages, families, churches, businesses, teams, etc. You name it – any group or organization that involves relationships – requires giving correction.
Why is that? We’re sinners. We sin against others and others sin against us. We have to be able to give correction to others, and we have to allow others to correct us. Here are three reasons this is so important!
1. Giving correction protects against bitterness.
When people sin against us, it can create an offense. We have to talk to the person that upset us. The alternative allows bitterness to develop, and it can have far-reaching consequences:
Hebrews 12:15b Lest any root of bitterness spring up causing trouble, and by this many become defiled.
Nothing ruins relationships faster than having an offense but not going to the person that offended you. The hurt festers creating anger and hostility.
We treat people differently when we’re upset with them, perhaps even unknowingly. The person who offended us will say, “You seem different toward me. Did I do something wrong?” We should share how the person hurt us, but we quickly respond in a dishonest way, “No, everything is fine.” We didn’t even know our offense had caused such a noticeable difference in our actions.
2. Giving correction allows relationships to develop.
When correction can’t be given in a relationship, it’s almost impossible to move beyond a superficial level. Relationships that can’t discuss hurts or offenses are completely shallow. A real friendship – whether in a family or in the church – should be able to see either of the following take place:
- “You shouldn’t have _______” followed by the response, “Thank you for pointing that out to me.”
- “It hurt me when you _______” followed by the response, “I’m sorry for _______, will you please forgive me?”
Proverbs 15:1 says that it is, “to [our] glory to overlook an offense.” But this only applies IF we can do what the verse says and overlook the offense. If we’re still angry about something weeks, months, or – sadly even – years later, we need to go to the person.
3. Giving correction fosters spiritual growth.
Correction is vitally important to our maturity. Sanctification is the Holy Spirit convicting – or correcting – us about an area that needs to be more conformed into the image and likeness of Christ. Often the Holy Spirit will use people in our lives to accomplish this. Those close to us identify blind spots we’ve been unable to see. Whether it’s because of pride or ignorance, there are some issues in our lives that require the help of others to recognize the change that’s needed.
Sometimes we respond poorly by getting upset, making excuses, or trying to turn the tables on the other person. All this does is shortchange our spiritual growth. This is why the Bible places so much emphasis on the way we respond to correction. There are positive or negative consequences associated with the way we respond to correction:
- Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction (negative), but he who regards a rebuke will be honored (positive) – Proverbs 13:18
- Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, and he who hates correction will die (negative) – Proverbs 15:10.
- The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise (positive). He who disdains instruction despises his own soul (negative), but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding (positive) – Proverbs 15:31-32.
- He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy (negative) – Proverbs 29:1.
Discuss: How do you respond when people correct you? Do you care enough about others to give them correction when it’s needed?