January 28, 2019
"If you are not disciplined - and everyone undergoes discipline - then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all." Hebrews 12:8 (NIV)
Have you ever had a piece of broccoli or salad in your teeth, but no one told you about it? It takes a caring friend to whisper, "You have something stuck in your teeth." That tooth tip is meant to be helpful, not harmful. We are wise to recognize correction - either big or small - as a chance to improve, instead of a challenge to be rejected.
When you're corrected, what's your immediate response?
I recently learned a new way to respond when I'm corrected, revised, amended, rectified or reformed. I learned this response from my friend who serves alongside her husband in youth ministry at my church. Over lunch, she repeated to me what she teaches the students:
"When we ask you (the students) to put away your phones, or when your parent says something to correct you, it may feel like a flick on the cheek. It hurts in the moment a little bit. But what you need to say is, ‘Thank you.' You're being corrected because you are loved."
I love that dialogue. When someone corrects you, simply say "Thank you." You're being corrected because you are loved.
This isn't always easy. But I got the chance to practice this response soon after.
At a small neighborhood exercise class I've been attending for years, I was lifting weights. My instructor corrected my form in front of everyone. Instead of being embarrassed or offended, I said, "Thank you." I was amazed at how that simple response helped me accept the correction (I was using the weights incorrectly), and it diffused my self-consciousness.
I don't know about you, but I'm naturally defensive when corrected. Yet the Bible teaches us not to be discouraged when we experience divine correction. Hebrews 12:5b-6 says, "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son" (NIV).
Do not lose heart.
When the Lord nudges, "Child, you need to go apologize to your friend ..." or "You spoke very rudely just then ..." we can learn to respond with the words "Thank you." Thank You, Lord, for correcting me because You love me. Thank You for helping me become more like You.
Today's key verse says, "If you are not disciplined - and everyone undergoes discipline - then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all." Being a child of God means God loves us too much to allow us to continue uncorrected in sin. Reading Hebrews 12:9-11, we learn that if human fathers discipline us and are respected, how much more should we submit to God?
Earthly parents aren't perfect, and we can correct incorrectly, but God always disciplines for our profit. God's correction is not condemnation. This is an important distinction. God corrects to prevent the death and destruction of our souls. At the time, discipline doesn't feel joyful. It's painful. But later it "produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (verse 11b, NIV).
One way we can spiritually train is by responding with a sincere "Thank you" when God (or other people) correct us. But what if someone gives you a mean-spirited or ridiculous correction? You can still say "Thank you" and leave it at that. You don't have to pay attention to corrections from people who don't care about you and seek your harm.
However, Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (NIV). In other words, let's respond with grace, even when others don't say something gracious. This sets us as Christ-followers apart from the world.
So the next time someone gives you a piece of advice, corrects you, or points out the broccoli between your teeth, just say "Thank you." And when the Holy Spirit nudges you about something you need to change, try saying, "Thank You, God, for caring enough to tell me about this because I am Your daughter."
Heavenly Father, I struggle with sin and need Your loving correction. Thank You for intervening in my life over and over again. Thank You for working on my character and behavior so I can look more like You. Help me welcome Your discipline in my life. I submit to Your will in my life. Give me a gracious attitude toward others. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Job 5:17, "Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty." (NIV)
Psalm 119:67-68, "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees." (NIV)
For practical insights to center your life on Jesus and love others by de-cluttering your screen time, check out Arlene Pellicane's book, Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life.
"What are you giving up for Lent this year?" It's a question that gets tossed around during the Easter season, but what does it really mean? How can Lent help draw us in toward Jesus? Take a look at our exclusive Lent collection, with products designed to help you focus on Jesus and experience Easter in a new way this season. [Shop the collection.]
Need some coaching to help you reduce your phone use this year? Visit Arlene's Facebook page as she hosts weekly Facebook Live chats based on her book Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life throughout the month (plus, you can watch past videos, too).
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How do you usually respond when someone corrects you? Are you more defensive or open-minded?
If you could use some prayer to welcome God's discipline in your life, let us know in the comments, and our team will pray for you!
© 2019 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.