We have a tendency to attach our personal value with our being right. We don’t do this on our own. There are plenty of cultural forces that reinforce this (sometimes extreme) thought process. The ones who make the least amount of mistakes win games, pass tests, get and keep jobs, etc. So there is definitely a premium on ‘being right in our society.
Honestly, that isn’t all bad. Being right is good. It is right. We were not designed to be bumbling idiots, stumbling through life messing things up. No one wants a doctor, mechanic, airplane pilot, preacher, or chef who doesn’t place a high value on being right. We have ratings that we can check to see how often businesses are right in their dealings. Being right is good. We value it, and we should.
Being right all the time is not the most important thing. And it is a good thing… because it isn’t even possible. Even though some people are right more often than others, no one is right all the time. Sometimes being wrong or doing the wrong thing is very costly. But most of the time it is just a regular bump in the road of being human. At those times we may need to be corrected. This correction is often the test of the kind of person we are.
Some people take correction well. These are the successful people among us. Others do not take correction well at all. These are the idiots. If you think that is a harsh term, you are probably in that group. I can say this for two reasons. First, it is a fact. People who do not take correction are stupid. These aren’t my words. A wise author in the Bible wrote, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but one who hates correction is stupid.” (Proverbs 12:1) That is the Holman Christian Standard Bible. The King James Version says, “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.” The Amplified Bible says, “Whoever loves instruction and correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is like a brute beast, stupid and indiscriminating.” Okay… so the Bible states that the one who hates correction is stupid. That’s one reason I say it.
But I can also say that resisting correction reveals your stupidity because I have been stupid. I was especially stupid as a teenager at times. It may be a special gene that teens have. But I’ve found that it is also prevalent in adults. We don’t like to be corrected because we feel it damages our credibility or value as a person… especially if we are a leader needing correction. But what damages your credibility and reputation more than being wrong, is being wrong and not being willing to be corrected.
Now, to the one doing the correcting, it is important to correct the one who is wrong with grace as you would want others to correct you. The Bible tells us to correct others with patience and gentleness. One of the reasons we have the Bible and preachers is to correct wrong views and actions. The Holy Spirit corrects us.
Everyone needs to be corrected at times. Sometimes God allows you to be corrected by a person who is in a better place than you. Other times He can use someone who doesn’t seem to have their act together. That’s tough. Everyone responds to correction. Some well. Others, not so much. The way you respond to correction will likely be the way others respond to your correction. God has a sense of humor… or maybe it is justice.
Whatever you do, do not remove yourself from the process of correction. If you don’t have people in your life whose correction you will receive, you are stupid. If you think you don’t need to be corrected, you are stupid. If you are constantly correcting, but never following correction, you are stupid. But if you will embrace discipline, you will inherit a wealth of knowledge which will likely result in less wrong in your life, which will mean less correction. Then you will become one of the successful people. And isn’t that what we want to be anyway? The path to success is through the detour of correction.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.