3 Reasons Giving Correction Is Important

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?

35 thoughts on “3 Reasons Giving Correction Is Important

  1. Thanks for the article. I’ve finally found a chance to read it through from Katie’s post on fb. Now, I am going to be going through the Scriptures you mentioned and in prayer because the Lord has really been speaking to me about bits of bitterness or perhaps simply apathy that has developed toward some people. I have always had such a difficult time going to the person. I feel it is simply something that I have to deal with…learning to truly forgive and love the person. And while that is true, if I do not go to that person because of fear of them not liking me, or fear that my own motives may be fleshly, or simply more hassle, I may be stifling an opportunity for growth on both our parts.

    1. Hi Michelle,
      I think that’s really wonderful – and mature – that you’ve been recognizing these areas God is revealing. Shows sensitivity and humility.

      I have the same struggle myself, truly forgiving and loving those I feel have mistreated me. It’s definitely one of my weaknesses.

      One thing I’d recommend – perhaps unnecessarily b/c I suspect you’d do this anyway – is praying for the person to have an open and receptive heart. I’ve been particularly blessed at times when I’ve prayed and then seen people respond well to correction.

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. Scott i definitely agree with giving correction, otherwise the person that offended you, for example, may not even know it or didn’t mean for something said to offend you. That way correction just clears the air.

  3. I complete agree with you on the topic of correction. As a mom of 2 young children I am working on teaching them about correction and also having to be humble enough to receive correction from them when necessary

    1. That’s wonderful Elizabeth.

      I’ve often said behind the pulpit that our children are going to learn we (their parents) are sinners. They can learn it from us when their young – when we respond humbly to them as you said – or they can learn later in life because we tried to hide it from them. Unfortunately by that point it might be after they’ve become bitter toward us.

  4. I agree that we need to give honest correction. For me it is about how the person presents the correction, are they truly trying to help me or if they are just complaining. It also matters a lot to me how much I value and trust their opinion. So much goes into if a person will accept correction, but if we want to better ourselves sometimes it is the only way.

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Although I’ve been blessed with a wonderful congregation, as a pastor I still hear a fair amount of complaints. Yes, it’s nice when the person is trying to be helpful versus just complain, but the problem is many times there has been plenty of truth even in the complaints :).

      Yes, like you’re saying, a person’s credibility – someone you trust – does make the correction much easier to receive.

  5. It’s funny, and sad, how correction has fallen out of fashion. Thanks for pointing out the reasons we need it. It is an important tool for growth.

    1. Tara,
      It probably has to do with our politically correct society. Everything is acceptable and you can’t say anything is wrong.

      Could also be why we’re not growing.

  6. For me my reaction to correction depends on the communication and person communicating it how I response. I tend to value correction and prefer it be immediatemy than after the fact. Correction helps challenge us to grow and is nccessary.

    1. Hi De,
      Yes, it helps when the person confronting us does so in a reasonable way.

      It’s interesting that you mentioned the correction coming immediately or later. I hadn’t really thought of that, but yes, it would seem to be most helpful if it took place soon after. Whereas later I might wonder the person’s motivation for bringing it up so late after the work.

  7. It can be very difficult to take correction in the moment it is given but if we’re wise we’ll consider the words someone speaks to us and then take the correction on board. It can be even harder to take correction when it isn’t delivered well.

    Sometimes a correction can come in the form of a personal attack from someone who isn’t seeking our best, but seeking to bring hurt. That’s when we need to be able to separate the delivery from the message. It can be easy to dismiss that kind of ‘attack’ but it’s still wise to consider what’s been said to see if there may still be some truth that we need to hear.

    1. Rodney,
      You said this wonderfully. You’re absolutely right that just because someone says something to us to be hurtful, cruel, as a personal attack, etc that doesn’t mean it’s untrue! It might be harder to receive from someone we know wants to hurt us, but it could still be as true as if it was coming from someone who truly loves us.

      Like you said the words need to be considered whether they’re from a friend with our best interests in mind, or an enemy who wants nothing more than to be mean.

  8. I love what you said about how ignoring a hurt builds resentment. It is so true! If we don’t give people a chance to acknowledge their actions and take responsibility, we’re walking around hurt and angry and they have no idea. It’s not really fair to them or us – and as the body of Christ we are supposed to be unified.

    1. Yes! So often we think we’re being more mature by “overlooking an offense” but the truth is we haven’t been able to overlook it. The more mature response would be going to the person about the offense.

    2. Thanks.

      I say that from my experience as a pastor. I’ve spoken with people who are clearly upset with others. I’ll say, “Why don’t you go talk to the person?” and they’ll respond, “Because I’m not upset about it”…even though they clearly are.

  9. Great post! To answer your question, sometimes, when I get corrected, I take offense to it- because my human nature instantly want’s to believe that I was in the right the entire time. But often times, I was not in the right, and that other person came to correct me for being wrong. I have learned many times to listen and think beyond myself and into what that person may be experiencing or feeling. It brings about a new chance for healing and for forgiveness.

    I recently had a friend of mine decide not to attend my wedding. A friend I have had for a long, long, time. I approached her right away to let her know I was pretty hurt by this. She refused to apologize for it right away, and that hurt. A few weeks later, she apologized, and I had to tell her that I was still upset at the situation but that I forgave her, and that I was asking God to help me past that hurt.

    From both sides, either being the one correctly, or the one being corrected- there is a chance to learn.

    1. Hi Mary,
      Thanks for reading and answering!

      Right, everyone’s human nature wants to flare up against correction! Had thought about trying to see the truth in what’s said, but hadn’t thought so much about thinking about what the other person is going through.

      If you don’t mind me asking, did she give a reason for not responding? You said to think of what the other is going through and I’m wondering if she had something going on that prevented her attendance?

  10. I guess I always feel that it will be taken the wrong way. I need to focus more on just doing what is right. I appreciate it (sometimes) when people point out corrections for me. I would hope that others would have the same feelings!

    1. Steve,
      I think everyone understands that. Nobody likes correcting someone else, and that’s the main reason: fear it will upset the person.

      You’re right though that it’s about doing what we should do regardless of whether it’s what we want to do.

  11. Love this post! We touched a bit on this during church yesterday. To quote the guest preacher, “Don’t faint when God is whipping you.” Funny words, but very true! God corrects us and will use anything that He has to in order to get us back on the right track and our faith can be made stronger for it. Instead of fainting and being worried over His correction, we need to learn to welcome it.

    1. Thanks Kalinann. That quotes sounds like a loose quote of Hebrews 12:12-13, right out of the discipline chapter:

      Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

      Good word about God’s discipline, and He often uses those around us to introduce it in our lives.

  12. Scott, It is so true what you say here. Few are instructed in how to give correction when it is needed. We are always better prepared to give and/or receive correction when we have a game plan. It helps us keep our emotions in check. Good words.

    1. Paul,
      I agree with completely. I think I’m going to have a few more posts discussing what you mentioned: how to give correction. And maybe one or two on how to receive it.

      I’ve preached – a few times – on the importance of giving and receiving correction b/c of it’s relationship to the health and joy of churches. Have you by chance?

      Thanks Brother!

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