Responding to correction

Last week I got an email from a staff member at Seacoast Church where I’m doing my internship this summer. He essentially said this:

“I don’t know you very well, so don’t take this the wrong way, but you need to Tweet more and blog more. You can have influence if you do this.”

What’s interesting to me is this: he was concerned that I might take his advice the wrong way. But why would he be concerned? What he said wasn’t even that serious.

I think his concern is grounded in a consistent character flaw of my generation.

Most people my age would say they want a “mentor”. Or they want “advice” from someone older than them. But most people my age also resent correction.

The problem is, you can’t gain any wisdom from a mentor or apply any of their advice without being open to critique. The wisdom my generation is seeking is impossible to obtain because we foolishly neglect rebuke.

Solomon says it this way: “Don’t rebuke a mocker, or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.” Proverbs 9:8 HCSB

  • A mocker looks at the Seacoast guy and says, “Who are you, bro? Don’t email me and tell me what to do!”
  • A wise person looks at the Seacoast guy and says, “Thank you for caring enough to give me some correction. I’m gonna try to do that.”

It’s so hard for me at times to accept correction, because it requires that I admit that I might actually be doing something wrong or less than perfect. Yet, my reaction to correction will determine the quality of the people speaking into my life, and the quality of the advice I receive. Did you catch that?

Your reaction to correction will determine the quality of who and what speaks into your life.

Or in other words, how you respond when somebody tells you to change something about yourself will determine if you have wise people speaking into your life. Wise people, the people whose advice you actually want, aren’t going to give you advice if you’re going to be a jerk when they do. On top of that, your response will also determine how good the advice you get is. Are people going to give you the whole truth… or are they going to tame it down because of how they think you’ll respond? If you respond negatively, people aren’t going to tell you what they’re actually thinking.

If you want wisdom, you have to be open to critique. Be willing to admit you need some correction. If you don’t, there won’t be anybody good who wants to help you.

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11 comments

  1. interesting stuff…i definitely need to switch my focus from reaction to action…the problem is not just generational…or i will just pretend to be of yours…yep, that’s it

  2. Two comments Nate: One I believe very effective is: Preach the gospel and witness every day but speak only when you have to. The other: Don”t let the sun go down without extending a loving touch to as many people as you come in contact with. You just might be the only person to bring joy into a life.–and –who knows– today might just be our last chance!
    Blessings and God’s speed in all that you do.

  3. A third response also of a wiseman is, good input, thanks for the feedback, I can’t do it right now because my plate is full, but I’ll think about it. Some people feel bad if they have to say no.

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