How well do you do handle correction? Is it hard for you to receive adjustment from others? Do you chafe at the prospect of admitting you are wrong and saying you are sorry?
Let’s face it. You and I are not perfect. We make mistakes — plenty of them. Sometimes, others around us notice what we have done, and they point out our error to us. Those kinds of situations can be uncomfortable. They’re not easy to navigate smoothly.
But The LORD can help us respond properly. In those times when we have messed up in a way that deserves adjustment, His grace can enable us to welcome correction.
A Surprising Turn of Events
Usually, for husbands and wives, there are lots of justifiable occasions to point out a mistake that has been made. (To maintain marital bliss, it is much better to do so very sparingly.) But often, we must own up to our foibles — even among family members.
Recently, our granddaughters (ages 13 and 6) were visiting us over Mother’s Day. I knew they probably had not had time or opportunity to purchase a card for their mom (our daughter), so I went out early that day and picked out some greeting cards for them to sign.
Returning from the store, I called them together and placed four cards before them. The youngest immediately grabbed her two favorites — and the oldest was left without a choice.
Disappointed at being stuck with two cards she didn’t really like, Granddaughter #1 sulked off to another room. Not being a fan of “mopey behavior,” I set off to find her, with a mind to gently “adjust” her attitude.
But I was in for a surprise. As I searched for her, I sensed a familiar Voice inside of me: “The fault is yours. You need to apologize.”
On my way to issuing a correction, I got the opportunity to welcome some correction of my own.
Our Unseen Need
I could have ignored that Voice and pressed on with my plans to admonish. Instead, I said, “Sweetie, I’m sorry. I didn’t handle that situation the right way. I should have given you more of a choice in the matter . I apologize. Please forgive me.”
My granddaughter responded graciously and forgave me for my mistake. It was a reminder to me of a favorite passage from Psalm 19, where David laments: “Who can discern his own errors? Cleanse me from my hidden faults” (verse 12, Berean Study Bible).
David wasn’t referring to deep, dark sins he was hiding. He was talking about those character flaws and points of rudeness or pride he couldn’t see on his own.
Either The LORD or someone else needed to point them out to him. And he needed to welcome correction.
A Piercing Passage
My wife, Cindi, during one of our discussions about the need to handle correction with a proper attitude, shared a very pointed passage with me. She had discovered it in her regular studies of the Word, but in a translation she doesn’t normally use.
Psalm 141:5 from The Passion Translation says: “When one of Your godly ones corrects me or one of Your faithful ones rebukes me, I will accept it like an honor I cannot refuse.
It will be as healing medicine that I swallow without an offended heart. Even if they are mistaken, I will continue to pray.”
A convicting passage, isn’t it? This is where you and I either say “Amen” or “Oh, me!”
Making It Right
Receiving correction and walking in humility requires tremendous maturity on our part. As I was writing this, I remembered an incident from Derek’s life when he had to humble himself and ask forgiveness from one of his daughters for a mistake he had made.
We read about how he handled it in a message called, “Self-humbling.”
* You may listen to Derek’s original audio as you read the paraphrased quote below.
“A church is built out of relationships. A home is built out of relationships. You can’t build either on wrong relationships.
As a parent, have you ever confessed your sin to your children? I remember years ago, somewhere around about 1950, I got unreasonably angry with one of my daughters. I said things to her I oughtn’t to have said. I didn’t smack her or anything like that, but I got angry.
After that, I had this strange sort of pressure in my chest. I thought to myself, “Where does that come from?” Then I happened to read a verse in Ecclesiastes, “For anger rests in the bosom of fools” (7:9), and I knew what my problem was. I also knew there was only one solution — and it wasn’t easy to do.
I had to go to my daughter and say, “I’m sorry I got angry with you. I shouldn’t have spoken to you like that.” When I said that to her, the pressure lifted from my chest.
I believe the key to self-humbling is confessing our sins. At least it is a good place to start. Confess them to God; confess them to one another.”
Attitude Adjustment Needed
Do you want to know the ultimate irony? The longer we walk with The LORD, the more difficult it becomes to practice that kind of self-humbling and to welcome correction.
Why? Because the older we get, the surer we become that we are right almost all the time, even though we know that can’t possibly be true.
Would you join me now as I ask for The LORD’s help in this area of our lives?
Lord Jesus, I want to begin this prayer by echoing the words of David, admitting that I am incapable of discerning my own faults.
I confess my need for help — from You and Your servants — to make me aware of blind spots in my personality, places where I need adjustment in my behavior and conduct.
It’s not easy to admit this need to You, Lord Jesus. But I do so now in the context of Your love and grace, trusting You to lead me further in this aspect of my Christian growth. Help me, Lord, to welcome correction! Amen.
A Tender Area
This is quite a transparent moment for you and me. To bring this tender area to The LORD Jesus and to the light of His Word is a big step — and potentially a life-changing one.
All of us at Derek Prince Ministries are right here with you in this decision. In fact, we are all in the same process!
It is our great honor to stand with you, to pray with you, and to supply some of Derek Prince’s amazing teaching to help in the process, starting with the full “Self-humbling” message from which we took Derek’s quote.
We can’t thank you enough for your partnership with us. Please receive our thanks for your prayers for us and for your financial support for the work going on here. Bless you!
A Healthy, Healing Step
I realize that the topic of this letter is a challenging one. It is not at all easy to open ourselves to the correction we should rightly receive. But especially in these times of disunity in the Church and in the world, it is an important option to consider.
In the passage we quoted earlier from Psalm 19, David added this prayer in verse 13: “Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me.”
There are many presumptuous sins, but probably the most glaring of all is our belief that we are totally right most of the time. That is the ultimate presumption, isn’t it?
Welcoming correction not only places a healthy restraint on our pride; it is also a necessary first step in relational reconciliation.
Can I be willing — at very least — to entertain the possibility that I may be wrong and someone else may be right? It takes maturity to admit that. But The LORD — by His Grace — can help you and me to welcome correction.
All the best,
P.S. Your involvement with the outreach of DPM is a great blessing to us. Please know how much we appreciate you. We want to express that gratitude again by extending our free offer for “Self-humbling,” the teaching from which Derek’s excerpt was taken.
Materials used by kind permission of Derek Prince Ministries.