If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honoured. – Proverbs 13 vs 18, NLT
As tough as the above seems, it nevertheless works. It has a lot to do with conditions and consequences! So, If you ignore correction, constructive criticism and instruction you will suffer the consequences, the outcomes to our actions! And vice-versa! Fulfil the condition and reap the rewards.
Criticism and correction if done in the right way is good for us! I know that anyway simply from life’s experiences and common sense, but when I read about the same exhortation from God time and time again, then it is time to sit up and listen and then act accordingly! I always try to use this phrase to help me: ‘if I come under God’s correction then I immediately come under His protection, this in turn will enable me to go in the right direction!’
This is what I believe David was getting at in Psalm 23 “Your rod and staff they comfort me”. The rod and staff were tools of correction that the shepherd used to protect and redirect his sheep! Viz: A sheep has strayed, and the shepherd sees danger, but the sheep is oblivious to it. So, the shepherd takes his rod which is a club-like instrument and throws it near the sheep (not at the sheep)! This startles the timid sheep and so it runs back to the safety of the flock and the shepherd. Or maybe the sheep has strayed from the path and fallen down a small cliff! The shepherd takes his staff and hooks the sheep with it to help it climb to safety! Both instruments are for correction and protection which lead to redirection!
God our Good Shepherd wants the very best for us, but so often we think we know what is best for ourselves and so if we are about to make choices that are detrimental and dangerous to our wellbeing He intervenes with correction, protection leading to redirection. I have been there numerous times and in different situations. And God has had to correct me and chastise me, but it has always been for my good.
And so, my advice from much experience is ‘accept correction because it is for our good and shows God really does love us!’ And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you, for the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” – Hebrews 12 vs 5-6, NLT
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