receiving correction

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
    whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
    rebuke the wise and they will love you.
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
    teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

Proverbs 9:7-9

One of the most important marks of spiritual maturity is the ability to listen well to a rebuke or correction without taking it personally. Trying to receive it from the Lord, not in a destructive way, but in a constructive one.

Of course the person adminstering the rebuke should be one who is thoroughly in your corner, at least not an opponent. Although wisdom prayerfully would consider the words or put downs even of opponents to see if the Lord might be speaking through them. One of the most important things to remember here is simply to not let such words, rather from a friend or foe, bring us down to something of a despair or despondency. That is exactly what our spiritual enemy wants.

It is of uppermost importance to remember that it’s never about us, never. We are in this for the Lord, for God’s glory, and we all have our humble place in that. We are offended, or we let something get to us, because we think too highly of ourselves. We are all special, for sure, but not one of us is more special than another, and we are all humble servants, as well as beloved family. Both. If it’s about us at all, calling attention to us, then our focus is off. That is in essence, idolatry. Instead our focus is on God through Christ by the Spirit, the Triune God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

And so we need to have ears to listen, even to someone who we think may have a critical bent about them. We need discernment from God to receive what is good and helpful. Maybe even talk it through with the person, if that’s possible. And we need to avoid defending ourselves, or justifying everything we do. Although we are blessed if the person correcting us is wise, because they will hear out what explanation we have, and will then be able to share what wisdom they have in that broader context. What is needed beginning from us is both truth telling and an honest heart along with an open mind. And above all, a desire to know and follow the Lord, a following which is both individual and communal, in that we are all in this together. So that we can help each other sometimes with the more difficult words, always given and received in love.

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