A thought about love & correction…
Posted on December 20, 2012
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 states: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” When it comes to love, people don’t often think of correction as an action that flows from love. However, I would like to challenge that today by reminding us of what the essence of love truly is.
In 1 John, the apostle writes that God is love. In other words God doesn’t love, He is love. Love is not his action, love is His essence. Because love is His essence, everything He does is loving and kind, even when correction is the action He is doing. I know in my own life the word correction carried such a negative stigma that I worked very hard to never be corrected. It’s not that I thought everything I did was right, but I would be extra hard on myself in the name of “holiness,” so that I didn’t need to hear a corrective word from another person. Over the last few years I have realized that God’s correction is not like man’s correction. And when you wake up to the love of God’s correction, even the correction of men does not have the same sting as it did. If we let culture define love as, “only what feels good,” then we have at best a shallow definition of love or at worst a word that has more to do with others perception of me than truly loving others.
If 1 Corinthians 13 is right (and I think it is!) then love isn’t abrasive when it corrects, rather love is healing and restorative in its correction. Also, we must realize to allow someone to hurt themselves over and over again by their choices without honest confrontation is not loving. When you really catch a revelation of your identity in Christ, you begin to look at everyone through that lens, and you realize reminding people of their identity is both encouraging and correcting. You won’t let people make negative declarations over themselves or their circumstances. You are quick to speak the truth of their identity because their identity is their source of life in Christ. You begin to see correction has nothing to do with shame, blame, and guilt but everything to do with restoration, identity, and transformation.
Think of it this way, God can only correct us with who He is. Therefore unhealthy anger, rage, and fear are not His tools of correction. His tools of correction are found in His nature or as the scriptures put it, the fruit of the Spirit. God corrects fear but confronting the lie and awakening love. He corrects discouragement by confronting depression and awakening joy. He deals with anxiety by affirming His nature of peace within you. Impatience disappears as His patience empowers your waiting. Being rude and judgmental is dealt with swiftly as His kindness causes repentance. A selfish outlook on life is upgraded when you realize goodness Himself resides in your heart. Harsh tones and interactions become obsolete tools when we see a gentle tongue can break a bone (Proverbs 25:15). Flakiness and flightiness become a thing of the past when it dawns on you that the faithful one gives you His strength to stick to it, no matter the opposition. The immaturity of manipulation ceases when He reminds you His death, burial, and resurrection created a new creation and that old way of living isn’t who you are anymore. You are powerful and able to control your actions by His grace alive within your heart and mind.
Woo hoo! I love God’s correction, because it always returns me to a place of rest, a life of peace, and the ability to bear much fruit, by His grace. So, let us remember correction isn’t rude and scary, but deeply loving even, if for a night, it is painful. Often the pain is caused by what we think He is going to say and do not what actually takes place. And remember most correction isn’t even received as a negative experience when shared from a perspective of reminding people of who they really are in Christ. After all good news refocuses our attention on Jesus and not on circumstances or relationships that we may not understand. This my friends is incredible news! Have a very Merry Christmas!