Monday, March 25, 2013

Proverbs 12:1

I decided to pick a verse from Proverbs at random to study.
Maybe there was something subconscious going on from Sunday's evening service, but i'd already forgot those verse numbers . . .

I chose 12:1.
"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid."
That one was mentioned last night.

Whoever loves discipline (or "instruction" in some translations) loves knowledge.
Who doesn't want to be smarter? We all love knowledge. But to become smarter, we have to know where we're wrong. We can't increase in intelligence without having made mistakes. We can't become wise without knowing our foolishness.
To gain knowledge, we have to find out what we know, but more importantly we have to find out what we don't know.
We can't be spoon-fed everything in life; we have to take leaps of faith (faith if not acted on is dead), make displays of independence (or else it does not prove itself), express our individuality (or we fade into the crowd). Then we seek counsel.
We can be instructed beforehand. Honestly, though, you can read and read and read about driving a car. The first time you're in the driver's seat, though, that instruction is out the window. You have to get accustomed to the vehicle, and have an experienced driver there beside you to guide you. And try not to wreck as you learn not as much from what they say but from what you feel. They can say how things work for them, but they are not you.

But here's where it gets hard.
It's easy to tell someone how to do something they don't know how to do.
How easy is it to be told how to do something you're unfamiliar with? Or how about something you already know how to do?
Not as easy that way.
What if it's someone pointing out flaws or insufficiencies?
I received some criticism a couple months back that was pretty rough. It chafed me. I wanted nothing more than to rebuke them and say "You know, i've seen and been told of your faults and they outnumber mine," but i refrained. I wish i had out of wisdom or patience or grace or some sort of fruit of the spirit. But no. I was tired and couldn't think of how to eloquently (now that word's stuck in my head) word it so as to twist the dagger with as few words as poignant as possible.
The following day, i got home from work and went to writing my letter.
Wrote out about three or four pages of pointing out the flaws of the person who had given me criticism (most of which wasn't even my account but from others). I was furious.
I read back through and realized something.
They were right. At least to some extent. Perhaps even still more than many would suspect.
I hated correction.

I'm still not wise, nor will i ever be in my own words.
But the correction thing; that's gotten much easier in the last few months.
Who it comes from doesn't matter as much as whether or not they're right.

I'm going to list three things my pastor said to do when receiving correction:
  • Consider the source; are they qualified, and are they trying to help?
  • Ask yourself "is it accurate?" If so, what can i learn, what can i gain, and how can i apply it?
  • Take it under advisement and seek counsel from a trusted friend.

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