Confronting Sin in Yourself: Accepting Correction
Because Kathy responded so well to the last question in my previous post, “Are you ready to start loving correction?” I am posting the two chapters that follow on how to start accepting biblical correction. Have fun!
Wonder Women Accept Correction
If our goal is to be conformed to Christ, if we truly want to be Wonder Women, then we have to first decide that we want to change. Becoming a mature woman of God does not take place naturally. Our “nature” is to seek after ourselves. If we want to change, we have to actively decide to change and then oppose our selfish nature (in those moments when we are not filled with the Holy Spirit) when it tries to push us back into sin.
The place that we often see our selfish nature rear its ugly head is when we get corrected. Correction that comes at a time when we are connected to God and eager for his direction bears great fruit in our lives, but unfortunately many times it comes at a time when we are not prepared for it. When we are in the middle of worship time, the time when we are closest to God, filled with the Holy Spirit and the most teachable, is not always the time when people confront us with a problem. It often happens when times are stressful, and no one in the room is feeling or practicing God’s presence. We need to be ready to be teachable in these moments. To connect to Christ quickly in the moment so that we can have ears to hear His message for us. That is only achieved through a conscious decision to be teachable when you don’t want to be, and an act of the will to stop talking and listen when you ‘naturally’ want to defend yourself and shut down the criticism.
Key to this is the ability to pay attention to our own feelings in the midst of being confronted. Think back to a time when you were confronted and did not respond to it well. Undoubtedly you can remember the welling up and rush of emotions that immediately preceded your poor reaction. There is nothing wrong with those feelings, they occur quite naturally as a part of our biological fight or flight response and as a part of our sin nature. The trick is not to be ruled by them, but rather to use them as an indicator of just where we are. Recognize that your natural defenses are kicking in and CHOOSE to keep your mouth closed until they pass.
Here is a kind of physical visual to use. When the feelings start to rise up in your belly and start moving upward toward your mouth where they find their ‘natural’ release, stop them at your shoulders, send them down your arms and hand them to Christ. Physically open up your hands… ‘casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
This is an act of worship in the midst of the conflict and this allows His grace to enter in.
When we get to the place where we can drop our defenses and get out of fighting position when corrected, and actually look for the wisdom in what may be being offered to us, then we begin to become truly wise.
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.
“If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
“Your descendants would have been like the sand, and your offspring like its grains; Their name would never be cut off or destroyed from My presence.”
Israel would not accept correction from God or anyone else and because of it, their pride brought them down. Let us learn from this how dangerous our pride can be, and work to set it aside and accept correction.
Be careful to watch for the lies that we tell ourselves to defend against criticism. Scripture does not tell us to accept discipline only if the one offering it does it the way we like it, or does not have a big log in his own eye. Only that we accept the message if it is a biblical one. Because we are women who Search the Scriptures, we will know if the message is from God or not. If we are not sure, we will Search the Scriptures to find out.
Meditate on these verses. Remember them in the moment when correction comes in the form of an unkind attack so that even when correction is offered badly, you can still glean some wisdom from the message.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
The will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.
My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof, for whom the Lord loves he reproves. Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels’
And nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.
My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart.
For they are life to those who find them And health to all their body.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the spring of life.
Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, but he who regards reproof will be honored.
The fear of the Lord is instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before stumbling.
A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding, than a hundred blows into a fool.
“Proud”, “Haughty”, “Scoffer” are his names, who acts with insolent pride.
He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
There is therefore now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus,
so what are you scared of?
Go on! Get corrected!
Its free training!
Wonder Women Think Critically
So you have decided to accept correction, good for you!
Now it is time to dig in and make sure it is biblical correction.
Lots of well meaning Christians offer lots of different advice. But unfortunately “well meaning” does not always equal “biblical”.
This is where our Searching the Scripture and Spotting the Lies comes in quite handy.
Once you have listened to the criticism that has been offered, spend some time going over it. Take notes if you need to and use it as your quiet time.
Then get alone with God and ask Him to show you if there is “any wicked way in you”. (Not to spoil the ending, but there usually is).
Start digging though scripture to see what God has to say about the matter. If the message that you got from your friend does not seem to be backed up by scripture, go back to them and ask them to offer you instruction from the bible on the lesson they believe you need to be working on. (Remember that many times people confront on what they don’t like rather than on what is actually sin. But if there is a confrontation going on, there is probably sin going on somewhere [possibly in your friend too], so go ahead and look everywhere).
This challenges both of you to dig into the word and find out what God really has really said. You both might find that you have been off about what is supposed to be going on in your lives and in this circumstance.
If it does take you both in a new direction, follow it and see where it goes. Find some good commentaries on the subject and get your lean on.
And if it turns out that even if you didn’t think they were right, they were, then don’t just stop at where they did, use it as a jumping off point to see where the character trait that sparked the criticism might be causing other problems in your life and see what idols you have that might be holding that poor character in place.
…and sacrifice that idol back to God.
It is not real any way and won’t last past this life. You don’t need it.