BETTER IS OPEN REBUKE THAN HIDDEN LOVE.
As children, we find it natural to be told what to do and what not to do.
We are more open to — and even regularly expect it — correction as kids, but this changes when we hit our “rebellious years.” It is at that point when we feel like challenging the wisdom of the old, and think that we can do life on our own. Now when the teenage drama is over and we turn into adults, we become a little sober and hopefully, wiser. By then we don’t expect our parents to scold us like before. Well at least this is what I thought. The moment I hit my 20’s, I was certain that mom should be done in telling me which is right from wrong.
Naturally, this caused a lot of fights between us. Not only because my mom would continue to lecture me like a kid, but because I still obviously did not know all the rights from the wrongs. Sometimes I would be reasonable,
other many times I was just dumb and foolish.
But when I started attending church and getting discipled, I realised that correction is not meant for kids alone. It actually has to be a part of my entire life if the goal is to be more and more like Jesus each day. And so I asked mentors and friends to hold me accountable. At the same time, people I would lead and my friends asked me to hold them accountable, as well.
Now this sounds great, especially when your friends know how to do correction properly. At least the key factors in successfully correcting someone are these:
- First off, you must have a relationship with her.
- And then, you do it the sandwich principle way, which looks like this: start with encouragement, then correction, then encouragement again.
The methods are no doubt fantastic and ideal but the truth is, it almost always doesn’t happen this way. I, for one, have been corrected by several church members, many of them I don’t have a relationship with, and even more of them just blurting out their corrections without the bread on top and neither on the bottom.
“Hey, I saw your post. So many people are getting mad at you. When I looked at it, I realised why. Look at it now. Is it not indecent?”
I quickly looked at the said post and saw this person was right. Immediately I took it down.
Now that is a true story. The sharp correction came from an elder that I know only by name. If you think about it, I could’ve just excused myself and dismissed her discouraging comment because anyway 1) she isn’t close to me, and 2) she didn’t say it in the right way.
But at that time, all I could think about was that I am glad someone saw what was wrong with my photo. If no one called my attention to it, I wouldn’t have realised I posted a compromising photo of myself and people were getting confused with my message. Now did I wish that she had said it more positively? Not really. Although that would make it slightly better, I guess. But certainly, I would rather have her say it even in such a discouraging tone, than not say it at all.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
Correction is such a tricky business. Even people I am close to, sometimes do not handle it properly. For crying out loud, I also cannot do this perfectly all the time! So honestly, if we always have to wait for the perfect communication before paying attention, then we might not be able to hear what we ought to hear at all.
So to answer the question above, here we go. How should I be corrected? By not fussing over how others correct me, and choosing to focus on the correction itself.
Listen and see how much truth the correction holds and afterwards decide on what I am supposed to do about it. Even when people come from a discouraging stance, I must remember that improving from their critique means I have turned the negative to be something positive for my own good. Because after all, the correction is not meant to help the “corrector” but the “correctee.” And I think that someone who is always too sensitive to receive corrections, both poorly handled and excellently delivered, does a disservice to nobody else but himself. 🙂