It is never fun to be corrected. Unfortunately, some people “think it means they are defective, unworthy, or less valuable, and they want to protect themselves from that.” (1) So how can a person find joy after being corrected? Let me tell you a true story from the farm about a tractor and a t-shirt. It illustrates how to handle correction.
My friend and I took a day trip to pick up a special breed of baby turkeys. It was a five hour drive each direction. Just as we arrived at our destination it started raining. I got soaked. Luckily I had taken a change of clothes with me, though at the time I didn’t know why I had put them in the car. On the return trip, we stopped to get something to eat and to change clothes.
Once back home I discovered that I had left my bag of wet clothes in the restaurant. Gone were my favorite tennis shoes, an almost new pair of jeans, and my pride and joy — a new T-shirt that read,
“Some grandmas knit. . . Real grandmas drive a tractor”.
I don’t like being corrected
Most people don’t enjoy correction, myself included. Yet when you look at the entirety of childhood it is one mistake after another. Toddlers attempt to walk, fall, and try again until they finally get it right. Elementary school children learn to read by making mistakes, learning the correct pronunciation, and moving on to new and more difficult words. Adolescents learning to play a guitar or piano make plenty of errors until finger coordination and muscle memory are accomplished. If this is how we learn in our early years, then why would things suddenly change once we reach adulthood?
“The upside to mistakes should not be underestimated. Knowing how to fail, err, come back, work harder, fall down, and get back up again is crucial to succeeding.” (2) How boring and unfulfilling life would be if we stopped learning.
Thinking differently about how to handle correction
My daughter learned to drive a tractor at the age of 9 but I didn’t gain this skill until I was 68. The loss of my t-shirt was so upsetting! Being able to wear that unique message was a source of pride for me. It was saying, “Look what I can do at my age!” The Lord reminded me that I needed to be thankful if I wanted to have joy or peace. (Philippians 4:6-7). It wasn’t like I was destitute. I still had adequate clothing and shoes.
As I contemplated the fact that it is easy to lose ‘things’, I was encouraged that my relationship with Jesus cannot be lost. Shirts are just ‘things’. If our possessions inflate our ego we are better off without them. I had to say, “Thank you Lord for another reminder. You know what will help me be a better person.” In that moment I was learning how to handle correction.
To my amazement, the next morning my son-in-law had to go on a road trip and would be traveling close to the restaurant where my clothes had been left. His co-workers who were traveling with him agreed to go out of their way to retrieve my lost items.
We must not physically or emotionally hang on tightly to possessions. It wasn’t until I willingly gave up my article of pride that I received it back. Everything we have is on loan to us from God. We are simply stewards or caretakers of what belongs to Him.
How to handle being wrong
In order to continue learning and growing, there are some essentials that we must allow God to develop in us. We must learn how to handle correction.
Have a teachable spirit
Having a teachable spirit means that you remain flexible. It means that you don’t assume you know everything. Bill Gates has been quoted as saying, “Success makes a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
Pastor Rick Warren says that having a teachable spirit will make you more likable, make you wiser, and you will have less conflict. Isn’t that what most people want in life? More friends, more wisdom, less conflict?
Be willing to forgive (yourself and others)
As humans we all make mistakes. Perfection is not an option. If God is willing to forgive us, then why can’t we forgive ourselves and others? To not forgive accomplishes nothing except to create inner conflict.
Here is what the Bible says about not appreciating correction:
- Conceited people do not like to be corrected. They never want to learn from those who are wiser than themselves. Proverbs 15:22
- “If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself.” (NLT) Proverbs 15:32 A
- Pride leads to arguments and conflict. Proverbs 13:10
- He who hates correction is stupid. Proverbs 12:1
In contrast, here is what the Bible says about the proper handling of correction:
- Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. Proverbs 9:9
- Whoever heeds correction is honored. Proverbs 15:32 B
- All scripture is breathed from God and profitable for teaching and for correction. 2 Timothy 3:16
Do you believe that God allows correction in our lives to make us better people? Philippians 1:6 tells us that when we know Jesus personally, God will continue to work in our lives until we breathe our last breath. Correction is part of that. Occasionally, correction stings. Many times correction is a change in thinking or a renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). In all instances, correction is a blessing as it means that God loves us enough to help us grow. Hebrews 12:11.
What about you?
How has God been correcting your thoughts, attitudes, and actions? Will you thank Him for caring enough to do that? If you don’t know God through a personal relationship with Jesus, please call 1-888-NEED-HIM. You can also send a text to that number, or you can chat at www.chataboutJesus.com. Someone is waiting there to talk to you.
To help you remember that correction is part of God’s love, I want to give you a scripture card, NO EMAIL REQUIRED. Simply click on the picture below to download it.
When printed on card stock, Scripture cards can easily be laminated and hung with ribbon. If you are looking for more scripture cards or coloring pages, see the resource page.
- (1) Breen, Meghan, LCSW. “https://www.meghanbreen.com/blog/2018/3/18/getting-okay-with-being-wrong
- Kenedy, Dr. Robert A, Sociology Department, York University. https://rkenedy.info.yorku.ca/online-links/critical-skills-for-students/why-is-it-great-to-be-able-to-make-mistakes/