Since we are so enmeshed with pride, corrections can be difficult to give freely and receive gracefully. It is possible to say that we are grateful for constructive criticism and feedback or perhaps say we’re open enough to recognize our shortcomings and adjust whenever necessary.
However, even if we learn to accept criticism and corrections that help us improve, hearing these things isn’t always simple, though it could become more of a breeze and get easier. We sometimes tend to be defensive and experience a certain amount of resentment whenever someone gives us criticism or challenges us. This is particularly the case if we’ve never requested feedback but they provide it. This kind of criticism could also push us into despair or cause us to feel as if we should give up.
Why Is Accepting Correction Difficult?
There is plenty of nuance in the reasons why accepting corrections isn’t easy, but the most significant issue is that it can feel like an attack that is a negative assault for the majority of us. The truth is, many times, correction or criticism is a neutral or even a positive thing. Proverbs 15:32 states, “Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.”
There are other possible reasons why you may be more susceptible to criticism. Your attitude toward criticism can be influenced by the culture you grew up in, but it may also feel like an insult to your self-esteem. Understanding where the hurt originates can aid in understanding how to handle criticism.
When we’re receiving corrective action, it is crucial to be able to deal with it graciously. How do we do this?
How to Humbly Give and Receive Correction
The main factor in giving and receiving correction is changing your mental attitude. It is essential to keep an open mind and be eager to be taught so that you can take criticism as a compliment. Hebrews 12:11 declares, “No discipline seems pleasant at first, but it is painful. In the end, however, it yields the fruits of peace and righteousness for those who are influenced through it.”
A large part of this is taking your pride off the table. It can be painful when you are told that you did something wrong, and nobody would like to hear that, but as the Bible suggests, good things can come from criticism.
Anyone who does not follow instructions is a fool, while the one who is open to criticism improves his knowledge. Proverbs 15:32
Lovingly Accepting Correction
How many times have you been corrected, even with love, by someone, and your response was not a Christ-honoring one? The more challenging part is how often these corrections were required before you realized they were correct. Perhaps the correction was made by your spouse, a beloved friend, or even a family member.
You should be grateful whenever they tell you about your mistakes and where you failed to respond appropriately to the context of a situation. Sometimes, your response to them isn’t gentle, and even though you might not always express the emotions you feel at the moment, you’re thinking about them. The emotions of anger or hurt can be real, but they’re not always correct.
We often think that because the rest of the world thinks these emotions are natural, we should be able to express our feelings. Let’s be real. That isn’t the case. If we feel that our feelings are not right and untrue, they are not going to change through verbal expression.
Our Right Response
What is the correct reaction to correction, regardless of whether the correction is harsh or performed with love and humility?
- Take the time to listen to what’s being said. Do not become angry or defensive. Be humble, and show them mercy and grace.
- Thanks to them for loving you enough to care and trust in your relationship to overcome the fear of dealing with whatever issue must be rectified or addressed.
- In our pride, we’ll want to ignore the criticism or correction instead of really looking at ourselves. This isn’t the right way to do it, so you must put aside the pride and look at the words spoken, then look outside your perspective to discover where and where you’re wrong to improve in the next steps.
Suppose you’ve accepted that criticism without a grudge; it’s time to make the correction in mind and action. If the correction you choose to make is one you can apply, you must consider incorporating the new behavior into your daily life. Nobody in the world is perfect. So be aware that constructive criticism that you receive is not personal to you. The feedback you need to hear is the ones who look for your well-being.
The Importance of Giving and Receiving Correction
Receiving and giving corrections well is vital, as mistakes can happen; we may offend people, or others may cause us to be offended.
Reasons why giving and receiving corrective feedback is crucial!
The Bible has a lot to say about giving and receiving correction.
God does not waste words within the Scriptures. When He repeats Himself, there are reasons. God doesn’t use highlights, italics, underlining, or bold to emphasize; however, He will repeat Himself whenever He wishes to make sure we don’t overlook something because there are so many scriptures that deal with the giving and receiving of correction; this alone is enough to make it clear that this is a crucial point. Take a look at the following passages taken from the book of Proverbs:
- Proverbs 12:1 – Anyone who loves discipline loves knowledge. However, anyone who hates correction is ignorant.
- Proverbs 15:5 – A fool refuses to obey a parent’s instruction, but whoever listens to corrections is prudent.
- Proverbs 17:10 – A rebuke can impress an intelligent person; more than one hundred lashes can a fool.
- Proverbs 19:20 – Listen for advice and be disciplined. And in the end, you’ll be among the smart.
- Proverbs 19:25 – Flog a mocker, and the simple will gain how to be prudent; correct the wise, and they will gain wisdom.
- Proverbs 21:11 – When a mocker is punished, the simple learn; by being attentive to the wise, they acquire knowledge.
- Proverbs 25:12 – To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry.
Giving Correction Fosters Spiritual Growth
Correction is crucial to our maturation. Sanctification involves the process of the Holy Spirit forming or convicting – or pointing out our actions in the area that must be reshaped to Christ’s image and likeness. Most of the time, the Holy Spirit uses individuals in our lives to achieve the task. Those close to us can see blind spots that we’ve never been able to recognize. It may be because of the lack of confidence or pride that there are some problems we face in life that need support from others to acknowledge the needed changes.
Sometimes we don’t respond properly, with anger, by making excuses or trying to change the situation for the other party. It’s a waste of time and our spiritual development. This is the reason why the Bible insists so heavily on how we respond to correction. There are positive and negative outcomes that are associated with the way we react to correction.
- Proverbs 13:18 – Shame and poverty will befall anyone who does not like the correction (negative), but those who accept rebuke will be praised (positive).
- Proverbs 15:10 – Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, and the one who is averse to correction will perish (negative).
- Proverbs 15:31,32 – An ear that listens to life’s rebukes will remain among those knowledgeable (positive). The one who refuses to listen to instruction is in the midst of demonizing his soul (negative), but he who listens to rebuke gains understanding (positive).
- Proverbs 29:1 – One who is constantly confronted and hardens his neck is likely to be destroyed with no recourse (negative).
Giving Correction Allows Relationships to Develop
If correction isn’t given in an intimate relationship, it’s virtually impossible to get past the initial level. Relationships that don’t talk about the hurts or offenses are superficial. A real friendship, whether it’s in a family or even in the church, must be able to see one or the other of the following happen:
- “You shouldn’t have _______,” and then the reply, “Thank you for pointing that out to me.”
- “It hurt me when you _______ “Then comes the reply, “I’m sorry for _______ will you please forgive me?”
Wisdom is the result of patience. It is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. – Proverbs 19:11
This is only true if we are able to do as the Bible says and pass over the transgression. If we’re still upset about something, whether it’s weeks, months, or, sadly, even years later, we have to contact the person. In every scenario such as this, the reverse is also true. Some people don’t have the humility or the spiritual wisdom to accept the corrective process well. When we realize the importance Scripture places on receiving corrective action well, what effort do we need to put in to ensure we respond appropriately? Instead of displaying pride, we must be able to say, “Thank you for telling me to be this; it was certainly not an easy task. I’m grateful that you were kind enough to me to discuss my weaknesses or errors.”
Giving Correction Protects Against Bitterness
If someone sins against us and we are offended, we must talk to the person who offended us. This can cause bitterness to be cultivated, and this has a variety of consequences:
Beware of any bitterness-causing root that may arise, causing trouble, and as a result, many are unclean.
Nothing is more destructive to relationships than an offence that is not addressed to the person who caused you to be offended. The pain lingers, causing hatred and hostility.
People are treated differently when we’re angry with them, possibly unaware of it. Someone who has offended us might declare, “You seem different toward me. Did I commit a mistake?” We should share how they caused us harm. However, we might react in a deceitful manner, “No, everything is perfectly fine.” The person who offended us won’t realize that it is their actions that have led to a noticeable change in our conduct.
Read More: Let Go of Your Ego and Live a Better Life
Read More: The Stoic Way of Life: The Tranquility of Mind and Certainty of Moral Worth
Read More: How to Make a Good First Impression
Giving Correction Is Loving
The world tells us that love is accepting people’s choices and letting them do whatever they want, regardless of whether it’s harmful to the person they are affecting or anyone else. A disagreement with someone’s decisions or lifestyle can make one unloving and, at worst, hateful. This logic demands that you remain silent as people make unwise choices.
On the contrary, the Bible points to the fact that love requires correcting people.
Don’t criticize a scoffer, lest they hate you. Instead, rebuke the wise, and he will be awed by you. Proverbs 9:8
He’ll love you for it, as He has the wisdom to realize that you’ve done the right thing.
David considered it an act of love, only to get a rebuke from someone:
I will be struck by the just.
It’s a nice gesture.
Let him be rebuked me;
It will be a great oil
Let my mind not deny it.
David sought correction because he realized how important it was to make corrections if he was planning to live the life he had always devoted to the Lord.
If someone is doing something wrong, it is best to correct the sin; this is what is done by a friend. Silence or a lack of encouragement is the way to go for an enemy.
Rebuke in open mode is preferable.
Faithful are the wounds that have been inflicted by one of your friends,
But kisses from the enemy can be deceitful.
Rebuking is much more compassionate in comparison to love, which remains silent when it is time to speak out. An authentic friend can sometimes hurt you. Someone who praises where a rebuke is to be placed is unkind and a threat because of their selfishness in supporting or encouraging destructive behaviour. The same is true for you:
It is more beneficial to hear the criticism of the wise,
Then for, him to listen to the songs of fools.
Comparing Ecclesiastes 7:5 to Proverbs 27:6, it’s better to be punished or rebuked by someone wise than to be sung to, kissed, or praised by a fool or enemy.
When giving correction:
- Ask clarification questions to obtain an accurate understanding. Don’t assume.
- Be sincere and honest. Don’t hint or over-qualify. Say what you are seeing with the humility to realize that you may not be seeing exactly.
- Undergird, don’t undermine. Construct, don’t destroy. Make yourself a force by helping to come up with an answer that is in the interests of everyone in the process.
When receiving correction:
- No prideful deflections. If a correction is needed, be humble and accept it.
- Follow God’s guidance. God likes to guide us in ways that encourage humility.
- Corrections are present; that’s not just for you. Your correction may also be a gift for someone else.
At all times, there are plenty of reasons why criticism can be difficult to accept. To accept corrections, it’s important to alter your attitude regarding the issue. When you can look at the instructions with an open heart, you can decide whether you want to be willing to take criticism as a compliment or not.
- What do you do to people who correct you? Do you have enough respect for others to provide correction when they need it?
- Do you have a story of a time when either you or someone else did not respond positively to correction? A time that you or someone else did not respond well?
- What steps can we take to ensure we get corrective action?
- Can you tell us the story of when you were judged or corrected? What was your response?
- Do you have any examples of wrong or harsh judgments?