As a child growing up in a home with clear boundaries, my brother and I would often be corrected for attitudes or behaviours that violated those boundaries. While we rarely enjoyed being pulled into line, we understood that our parents correction was an expression of love that came from a desire for our lives to reflect the values of our home.
As a father with teenagers in the house I now understand the tension between giving and receiving correction when strong personalities and opinions clash with parental expectations. Yet, despite the inevitable conflict that arises, our children are secure in the knowledge that we want them to make wise choices for the direction of their lives.
As a student studying at a higher education level the work I submit is subject to correction by my lecturers. Their comments and marks are designed to assess my comprehension of the subject matter and to provide me with feedback to help raise the standard of my work.
As a Christian who has committed my life to Jesus Christ and who has a desire to develop a godly character and pursue God's purposes for my life, I accept that "all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
However, correction from any source of authority has become increasingly unpopular in a post-modern society, bringing into question forms of absolutes that attempt to guide or govern human behaviour. From this standpoint correction is interpreted as a judgmental or prejudiced perspective that heightens a feeling of inadequacy or rejection.
Clearly there are people in society that do not have our best interests at heart and a high degree of discernment ought to be exercised when responding to the motive and method of correction.
Alternatively, when correction comes from a place of relationship where there is a foundation of trust it offers an opportunity for personal development and growth. It invites us to reevaluate where we are and to reposition ourselves to where we should be. In order to receive correction from this positive point of view we must be prepared to accept the source of authority from which the correction comes. When my children accept my authority as a parent they are more likely to accept the correction that comes from my discipline. When I accept the authority of the training institution where I study I will receive and apply the correction that is given by my lecturers. When we accept the authority of Scripture we are more open to embrace God's correction of attitudes and behaviours that are out of alignment with His pattern and purpose for humankind.
Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you...But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth" (John 14:15-17, 15:13).
Correction = Rethink Your Direction
Thank you to Andrew McKerrow for the inspiration for this post through his cartoon from https://www.facebook.com/thinkupwards. See more of Andrew's cartoons at http://www.pinterest.com/andrewmckerrow/cartoons-by-mckerrow/