“WISDOM OF LIVING (60) CORRECTION”          By Pastor YAU

2 Samuel 12:1-7                                                           March 30, 2008.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   A correct attitude: Not everyone appreciated correction but King David did. He felt indebted to those who corrected him and realized how much he owed them. “Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. Let him rebuke me; it shall be an excellent oil; let my head not refuse it.” (Psalm 141:5)Correction is an act of kindness because it represents loyalty. Loyal friends will correct each other even it’s painful and may disrupt relationship. It is one of the ways we show love and help each other to grow stronger. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”

2)   A correct response: It takes lots of courage to give godly correction; it takes lots of grace to receive it. Unlike King David who accepted correction from Prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12:13), most of us will refuse it. We resent the interference; we don’t want to be found out wrong. We will give many excuses to justify our wrong and put the blame on others. But if we accept the friendly reproof, we will find that it does indeed become “excellent oil” on our heads that makes our life a sweet fragrant to people around us. Growing in grace sometimes comes through kind but unpleasant correction of loyal friends. Do not refuse them, for “A fool spurns discipline but he who receives correction shows prudence.” (Proverbs 15:5)

 

WHY CORRECTIONS?

1)   Because we’ve done wrong: I am sure we all have heard or used this expression: “Nobody is perfect” to excuse ourselves when we have done wrong. By definition, we all could do wrong or have done wrong. I certainly hope that no one wants to keep doing wrong all his life. In order not to keep doing wrong, we need someone to point out our wrong so we can begin to do right. That is why we need correction. Correction helps us to do right.

2)   Because of our conscience: One of the things God installed in each one of us is the ability to know good from bad, right from wrong. If we see something wrong, either in ourselves or in others, there is an urge to make it right. We all have a desire to do right both in ourselves and in others. Our conscience won’t rest until we try to make it right and one of the ways is to correct the wrong.

3)   Because we care: I am talking about our love and concern to others, especially those who are close to us. We can’t just sit there seeing our loved ones continue to do wrong. That’s why parents will correct their children and teachers will correct their students. The more we love that wrong doer, the more we want to help him do right by correcting his wrong. That’s why David felt so strongly the love of his loyal friends when they corrected him: they cared.

4)   Because we need that: Society needs a system to correct wrong doers therefore we have Justice Dept. the police, courts and judges. We call prisons “Correction Centers” for a good reason. It is more than punishment for the wrong doers. It is also a place where they may learn to do right at least that’s what we hope. A society with out a correctional system will be chaotic without peaceful life.

 

CORRECTION IN THE BIBLE: Too many to list, just list a few:

1)    God tried to correct Cain: When God did not accept the offering of Cain that triggered his outrage, God tried to correct him. He said, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” (Genesis 4:6-7)This is the very first record of correction in human history: God wanted to correct Cain. God wanted to see Cain stop doing wrong and start do right. God is not bias. He can’t see wrong as right. Cain needed to stop his wrong and started doing right.

2)    Moses tried to correct Israelis: The Israelis had lived in Egypt for 400 years and had learned many of idol worship and practices. God asked Moses to correct the Israelis of their old life style, “You must not do as they do in Egypt where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan where I am bring you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be care-ful to follow my decrees and laws for the man who obeys them shall live by them. I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 18:3-5)This is for the benefits of the Israelis and their children. They needed to correct their life style from idol worship to worship the Lord.

3)    David tried to correct his people:  In the beginning lines of Psalms, King David admonished the readers to change their path of life. In Psalm 1:1-2, he said, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers but his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.” David wanted to correct his people from following the wicked, the sinners and the mockers. He urged them to follow the law of the Lord.

4)    Jesus tried to correct the Pharisees: After encouraging the people to follow the teaching of the Pharisees but not follow what they did, (Matt. 23:1-3) Jesus pronounced “Woes” 7 times to warn Pharisees to change their life style: they needed to correct their hypocritical life style. (23:13-36)There were so many things the Pharisees did wrong and they need to correct themselves in order to be the leaders of the people. Jesus urged the people not to follow what their hypocritical life style.

 

HOW TO GIVE CORRECTION? Giving correction is an art we need to learn to be effective.

1)    Must be prompted by love: In Hebrews 12:5-6 says, “And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addressed you as sons: My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves and he punishes everyone he accepts as son.” When God corrected his people, He did it because of his love for the people. We need to have that same motive when we correct our loved ones. Never correct anyone when you are critical of him.

2)    Must know all the facts: Giving correction without knowing all the facts is a risky business. Still remember how Prophet Eli tried to correct Hannah, the weeping woman? If you don’t know all the facts, don’t know what the Bible says don’t know the situation, do your home work before you open your mouth.

3)    Must be discreet: “If your brother sin against you go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.” (Matthew 18:15)Privacy and respect are very important when we try to correct a brother. Be careful and wise to protect his dignity and self respect. We correct others to build them up not to put them down.

4)    Must be appropriate: This includes appropriate timing, appropriate attitude and appropriate language. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word aptly (appropriately) spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” It is not good enough to have a good intention or a good heart. It takes many appropriates to accomplish a correction.

 

HOW TO ACCEPT CORRECTION? If you think giving correction is hard, accepting correction is harder. Here is how:

1)    Be humble: The hardest part of accepting correction is our pride: it hurts our pride, our position, our self respect and even our dignity. But there is no other way to get around except be humble to accept correction. Pride may hinder us from seeing our wrong and be defensive.

2)    Be honest: When someone points out our wrong, we need to be honest to see it and admit it is wrong, wrong to God and wrong to people. Both David and the prodigal son recognized they have sinned against God and someone (the father). Allow honesty to work in our hearts to see and admit wrong without making excuses.

3)    Be thankful: For someone to risk jeopardizing a relationship to give us correction is never an easy thing. He/she must love us so much, wants to see us come out of the wrong to be right again. We need to be thankful to them for helping us to get right again. What David said in Psalm 141:5, “Let the righteous strike me, it shall be a kindness. Let him rebuke me, it shall be as excellent oil on my head.” Do not hate the messenger.

4)    Be repentant: When we are being pointed out our wrongs, we need to be determined to be corrected, to stop the wrong, to change to the right. Never take correction lightly or as nothing important. God may be in the corrections our friends bring us just as Nathan was sent by God to correct David. Stop the wrong and start the right is the way to make corrections worth the risks. Repentance means stop and turn around.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)   No one is perfect: This is not just an easy excuse for doing wrong, it is a true and honest statement of our human nature: we can and will and have done wrong. It is never easy to admit our wrongs but it is admirable to admit our wrong when someone loves us enough to point it out. Be honest and humble to accept correction is a sign of great character. Never be defensive or arrogant in the face of our wrong. Accept correction will make you wise. (Proverbs 9:9)

2)   Always be kind: When giving correction, always be loving, kind and gentle. You are trying to help your friend get better, not worse. Motive, attitude and approach are important when give corrections. Gracious is the key effective correction. Humility is also important. We may have our own wrongs and need correction as well.

3)   Confess to God: The most important correction is from God when prompted by the Holy Spirit. We need to be honest to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness from God and be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. This is the only way to be reconciled to God for eternal life. God is always kind and forgiving if we are sincere of our sins. He will make us new person and give us new life.