Proverbs 6:23 says, “For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life . . . .”
Yet, at the time, correction never seems like the way to life; it seems like the way to discouragement. Harold Bullock has this to say about how we might handle those who come to us with correction.
When someone offers you a correction, you feel a need to defend yourself. You will be inclined to make statements that show your irritation or try to immediately explain why the correction is not really applicable to you. However, immediate self-defense usually shuts down the person trying to offer the correction – actually that is probably why we react defensively in the first place – to shut them down!
Instead of rushing to your own defense, calm down and explore what the other person is saying. Remember, we tend to be innocent in our eyes. So explore. Ask, “How did I do that? When did I do it? Where do I do it?” Ask clarifying questions until you really understand what the other person is saying.
Then, thank the other person for caring enough about you to take the risk of correcting you – they have given you a “badge of honor,” and you deeply appreciate them doing so.*
These are definitely words that I need to keep close by for when a friend corrects me. It is never easy to accept criticism and yet everyone of us needs such correction. The correction we receive is a great reward to our lives.
“Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.” – Proverbs 25:12.
*Bullock, Harold. Sharper Strokes: Living Smarter . . . Not Harder. Fort Worth: Golden Oak Publishers, 2003, p. 227.