How Do You Handle Correction?

How Do You Handle Correction? | FromHisPresence.com | by Jamie Rohrbaugh

Do you want to grow strong in the Lord and in the power of His might? If so, somewhere along the way, you are going to encounter the discipline of God. You are going to be corrected–and how you handle correction will make all the difference in the world to your current and future spiritual growth and walk.

First, you should know that correction is actually a good thing, not a bad thing.

I have personally been corrected multiple times.

Of course, I have been convicted directly by Holy Spirit many times throughout my life. Over and over again, I have been convicted, just as we all are constantly convicted. The conviction of God’s Holy Spirit happens every time you sin, if you will listen to it. He is our Teacher, and He is constantly honing us into the image of Jesus.

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    But sometimes we have blinders on when it comes to ourselves.

    And when we refuse to listen to Holy Spirit’s gentle conviction in a certain area over time, then He will send His messengers to you to bring correction.

    (For the purpose of this article, I will refer to “conviction” as when Holy Spirit deals with you just between you and Him. But when I refer to “correction,” I am referring to the Lord staging an intervention for you that involves other people confronting you, or when the Lord disciplines you using outside circumstances to get your attention.)

    Yes, God does send other people to bring His discipline at times. And that is what I have experienced.

    For example, one time I was corrected for walking in self-pity.

    I could believe God all day long for everybody else, but I couldn’t believe Him very well for myself. I felt like God wasn’t going to come through for me, and I operated in a spirit of doubt and unbelief when it came to myself.

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    When that became an urgent issue for the Lord, He sent a pastor of mine with the rod of correction.

    Honestly, it was a pretty stern rod, too. It hurt badly. And I was put on the shelf and not allowed to participate in very much ministry for several years because of it.

    Nevertheless, the correction was good for me. And although it took me a few YEARS to work through that character issue, I don’t know that I ever would have noticed the problem unless the Lord had brought me the rod of correction through another person. I was simply too deep in the mire to notice my own problem in this area.

    Another time, God sent me the rod of correction through a different pastor of mine.

    On that occasion, it was about my lack of kindness. I used to be so blunt all the time that I was not kind at all. I loved people, but I wasn’t gentle. And one of my pastors corrected me in that area.

    Again, the correction I received (like any spiritual spanking) smarted; it hurt. But, it was extremely good for me. I have made a concerted effort ever since to be as gentle as possible–even in tough situations. Sometimes you have to be blunt, but you can still be gentle.

    Before I was corrected, I didn’t care how other people felt about “the truth.” But, now I try very hard to make sure people know I love them, even when we have to talk about hard things.

    Those are just two of the times that the Lord has seen fit to correct me in order to change me.

    We would all probably prefer that God deal with us 1×1, simply through His conviction and without involving other people. However, when we are too deep in the mire to notice our own problem, He DOES send correction through other people. And that correction is a good thing.

    Nevertheless, you will only benefit from it if you become willing to receive correction in a godly way.

    Why are discipline and correction good things? They hurt!

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    Yes, they do hurt. But, God’s discipline and correction are good things because the Bible says they are. Discipline and correction are signs of love; signs that God is watching your back, watching your blind side, and conforming you into the image of Christ.

    Basically, discipline and correction are signs that God is watching over you as His beloved child.

    Let’s look at some key Scripture passages about this. First, one of the clearest passages about discipline and correction in the Bible:

    “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

    ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’

    If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.

    Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.

    Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:5-11 NKJV).

    Note these 9 things from this passage:

    1. Correction is a sign of love, not hatred.
    2. We are not to despise God’s chastening.
    3. We are not to be discouraged by His rebuke.
    4. If you get chastened or even scourged by Him, it is a sign of His LOVE. And scourging is what happened to Jesus at the end of a Roman whip. That’s pretty extreme; it means that even if the correction hurts really, really badly, that’s even MORE of a sign of His love. Ouch!
    5. If you are NOT chastened, you are illegitimate and not a son/child of God.
    6. The correction of God is for your profit, so that you can become more HOLY.
    7. Chastening is not fun; it never is. “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present ….” There is no fun or easy way for chastening to happen, ever. “No chastening.” Note that!
    8. Chastening is painful. Every time.
    9. But afterward, if you are willing to be trained by it, that chastening, discipline, and correction that comes from God will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness in you. IF you are willing to be trained by the discipline.

    Let’s look at a few more principles from Scripture as well.

    Consider these passages from God’s Word:

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    Passage 1:

    “He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses correction goes astray” (Proverbs 10:17 NKJV).

    This passage tells us that instruction from the Lord brings life, but you will go astray if you do not listen to godly correction.

    Passage 2:

    “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1 NKJV).

    This passage is pretty self-explanatory, and it’s one of the bluntest passages I think I’ve ever read in the Bible. “He who hates correction is stupid.” Ouch.

    This passage points God’s finger at all of us, because it’s not easy to LOVE correction. But hatred in the Bible means “to love less.” So if you love correction less than you love other things, you’re stupid. Wow. 🙂 Lord, help me to love correction!

    Passage 3:

    “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes” (Proverbs 13:1 NKJV).

    Rebukes come because other people (led by the Lord), or the Lord Himself, see things in you that are problems that need to be fixed. And they confront you about these problems.

    But, if you’re a mocker, you won’t respond to the rebuke. Conversely, if you don’t respond to rebukes, you’re a mocker.

    (In other words, if you just get mad that you got corrected, rather than demonstrating true repentance and godly sorrow for what you did that caused you to be corrected, you are a mocker.)

    Let’s look at a few more Scriptures:

    “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble'” (James 4:6 NKJV).

    If you refuse to receive correction, you are demonstrating pride. And God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.

    Related: 5 Prayers of Humility, 35 Confessions of Humility, and read how God rewards humility here.

    If you will humble yourself and submit to correction, however, that’s called demonstrating humility.

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    Humility is one of the most important character traits you could ever demonstrate. It takes humility to receive correction. And it takes humility to grow in God.

    But, if you will demonstrate humility the way God prescribes, He will eventually be able to elevate you, lift you up, and promote you:

    “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’

    Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5-7 NKJV).

    And here’s a big clincher:

    “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19 NKJV).

    When God rebukes and chastens us, He wants us to be zealous for Him and repent. He considers true, complete repentance to be a necessary, essential part of being zealous for Him.

    But how do you know if correction is from God or not?

    It’s simple. Look at these two passages:

    “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’” (John 8:31-32 NKJV).

    “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me'” (John 14:6 NKJV).

    Jesus is TRUTH. So, everything that comes from Him will be truth also. So the key to determining whether or not correction comes from God is this:

    Did you do it?

    Did you do the thing you are being corrected for?

    Are you guilty?

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    Notice that this is not about whether or not you LIKE the fact that you are being confronted.

    Nobody enjoys being corrected. As we already established from Hebrews 12, above, correction is painful 100% of the time.

    But did you do the thing that people are confronting you about?

    This is also NOT about whether or not you think people should have a problem with something you did.

    If you did a thing that people are confronting you about, you don’t get to say that the thing shouldn’t matter. It DOES matter; that’s why they are confronting you. And too often, people think “What I did shouldn’t matter to you. You don’t get to have a problem with my actions,” which is a classic pattern that is NOT GOOD.

    So again, the question is:

    Did you do it?

    This is how to tell the difference between godly correction and enemy attack:

    If you did it and people are confronting you about it, and the thing you did doesn’t line up with God’s Word, then you are experiencing godly correction. You did the thing, and God is intervening, even if He is sending other people to stage the intervention and call your attention to your inappropriate behavior.

    But if the thing you are being confronted about is a total lie and you didn’t do it at all, that’s called enemy attack. That is not godly correction.

    Also, does the person confronting you have permission to speak into your life?

    When God sends correction using other people, He will do so using people who have permission to speak into your life. (For example, He may send your spouse, pastor, your supervisor, a trusted family member, or a friend.) He will send people whom He can trust with the task of loving you through the hard parts.

    But I have never seen Him send individual correction through people who don’t know you at all and don’t have permission to speak into your life. When people who don’t know you send you nasty text messages, emails, or chew you out, that’s called enemy attack. That is not the Lord’s correction.

    It is even worse enemy attack when people confront you about things that are absolute lies. LIES are from the enemy, not the Lord.

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    But if someone is correcting you about something you DID, what should you do?

    How should you handle it when someone corrects you?

    I write this with great trepidation, because teachers are held to a higher standard. And that means that if I’m going to teach about it, I could be tested on it. Help, Lord.

    But here is the only godly response to correction, according to God’s Word:

    1. Humble yourself and repent for what you did. And “repentance” means to change your mind and go the opposite direction. So, in order to truly repent, you have to start making concentrated efforts to do the opposite thing from the bad behavior you were confronted about.
    2. Make things right with God, and with the people you hurt.

    But the following things are NOT godly responses to correction:

    • Getting mad that you are being corrected.
    • Telling people they shouldn’t care about the behavior you are being corrected about.
    • Changing your outward behavior while you are still seething on the inside. This is not heart change; it is simply anger.

    True repentance should have godly sorrow attached to it. True repentance means apologizing to the people you hurt and making it right, as well as doing your best to never do that again. True repentance accepts that what you did was wrong, and strives to change.

    So friend, this brings us to the crux of the issue:

    How do you handle it when people correct you?

    And even more importantly, regardless of how you have handled correction in the past, how should you handle it going forward?

    Will you be humble, admitting you were wrong, and striving to change?

    Will you make things right with the people you harmed through your bad behavior?

    Will you receive godly correction, thereby humbling yourself under the mighty hand of God, so that in due time He can exalt you?

    Or will you show yourself to be prideful and arrogant, refusing the correction that the Lord has sent to intervene in your situation?

    Will you respond in anger, badmouthing the people who corrected you? Or will you acknowledge that God only sends people to correct you as a demonstration of His extreme love and mercy toward you?

    Could you, would you … even thank the people who cared about you enough to follow the Lord in correcting you? Yes, that would take extreme humility … but could you be that humble, so the Lord can give you more grace?

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    He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

    How humble will you be when you are corrected?

    Friend, correction is often the test God will send before He can promote you to the next level of blessing, leadership, and responsibility in the Body of Christ.

    If you fail to listen to the correction He sends, you fail the test and get to stay in the wilderness.

    But if you listen to the correction that the Lord sends, humbling yourself with repentance and genuine heart change, as well as attitude/behavior change, He can exalt you and give you more grace.

    How do you handle correction? You have choices before you of life or death. Which one will you choose today?

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    4 Comments

    1. Joy Sullivan says:

      Are you referring to a person correcting you in person or someone online and you did not see or hear about this rebuke

    2. This may sound weird, but I have come to rely on God correcting me. I have made soooo many mistakes because I would not listen, submit, or surrender myself and life unto God and when I finally realized God’s correction is to help me not harm me, it has become easier for me to accept.
      When Jesus tells us to come because we are heavy burdened, He tells us to learn of Him, that learning may be corrective (see Matthew 11:28-30), and then David pens in Psalm 19:7-14, words that I use as prayer to help me stay submitted and surrendered unto God. The passage speaks about God’s wisdom and alludes to a testing of what is truly in our hearts and that testing can lead to a correction. My experience with God’s correction is that it is done in love to help me become a better person because God’s best does not come without Him guiding us and His guidance may come as correction.

    3. Thankyou Jamie this is powerful I definitely learnt from it be blessed in Jesus name

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