September 7, 2011

1 Corinthians 11:32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

Being corrected is often painful, on a number of levels. Even physical therapy can be painful, when it is working to correct a deficiency. Correction of attitudes and actions is painful to our pride, and many of us would rather hurt physically than have our pride hurt. This is an important issue, because all of us need a lot of correction of various sorts. When God applies correction, many of us are quick to rebuke the devil! However, God is a loving Father who cares too much about us to leave us in our uncorrected state. There’s a big difference between being corrected and being condemned. Japanese has a major problem in this area, because it doesn’t have a good term for “condemned,” and requires various work-arounds, that may or may not get the idea across. That makes it difficult to communicate when someone is being corrected but not condemned, and it might even be one of the reasons behind Japan’s high suicide rate. However, many English speakers have trouble with the distinction as well, because they weren’t raised in an environment of loving correction. One of the most important things a parent can do for their child is to get across the idea that even when they are wrong, they are loved. That is unconditional love, and every human being has a fundamental need for it. In far too many people, that need is simply not met. That leaves some with the idea that it’s not possible, which poisons their relationship with God, even if they believe in Him otherwise. As Paul said, (Romans 8:38-39) nothing can separate us from the love of God. Too often, simply being corrected makes us feel unloved.

I am in the middle of dealing with just such a situation, complicated by some presuppositions and verbal misunderstandings. I cannot let it ride, because it would fester and create all sorts of problems down the line. I don’t have the wisdom to deal with it rightly, but God does, and He has promised to guide me. My main focus needs to be speaking the truth in love. I need to apologize for my misunderstanding, even though it was generated by a presupposition on the other side. God can use this situation to teach the difference between correction and condemnation, and I need to rejoice in His perfect plan.

Father, I do thank You and praise You for how You use our foolish mistakes and turn them around for good. I pray that this situation would indeed be a powerful learning experience, building up the Body of Christ. Lord, another situation comes to mind, and there too I need to speak the truth in love. Thank You for not leaving us as we are, but correcting us with as much force as is necessary. Help us all be quick to recognize Your hand and accept Your correction, so that we may be more and more conformed to the likeness of Your Son Jesus, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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