Correction: Something that is substituted or proposed for what is wrong or inaccurate; an adjustment made in order to increase accuracy; the reversal of a trend. Most of us think of correction as the punishment we receive which is intended to put us back on the right course. In essence, this is only one definition of the term - but the idea is that of "substituting" one behavior for another in order to get a different outcome. In other words, if we continue doing the same thing, we will always get what we have always gotten! So, correction is designed to help us do something "differently" in order to change the outcome.
but fools are killed by their own stupidity. (Proverbs 10:17-21 CEV)
"Accepting" correction is the biggee, right? We think we can fix ourselves, but let me just pose this question to you: "If you got yourself into the mess, what makes you think you are going to be any good at getting yourself out of it?" The truth is, we got into the mess because we had blinders on, causing us to only see what we wanted to see; or we were so "open minded" we forgot to really think through what we were doing in the first place. The way "in" is not always the way "out", and we don't always realize just how we got to where we are at today! We need to have blinders removed - so we sometimes need someone on the "outside" of the mess we are in to actually help us see where the blinders have limited our focus. We also need someone to clearly delineate the path for us to follow, because the ones we have been choosing are just riddled with messiness!
Fools are killed by THEIR OWN stupidity - not the stupidity of others! We sometimes think we can put the blame for our missteps on others, but truth be told, we took those steps on our own! When "useful instruction" comes our way, it takes quite a brave man or woman to actually embrace it and turn away from the folly of our ways. Bravery? Do I really mean bravery? Yep, because bravery is the willingness to challenge the norm - to dare to be different from what we have always been. Bravery stands up to the wrong we have created in our minds and dares to think differently. Most of our missteps in life are simply because we have embraced some type of "errant' belief. In turn, we act upon that errant though pattern and we find ourselves "missing the road" we should actually have traveled!
A couple of things our passage points out about when or where we need "correction" most in our lives:
- When we are clearly on a path which will do us harm in anyway. Sometimes we just choose the wrong way - either because of our own lack of investigation into the pathway we are traveling, or because we have given into some form of peer pressure and just idly go that way. Either way, we need someone's help and truth to get us back on course. When I am lost on the roadways on some journey I am on, I don't just drive round and round. I pull over, look again at the map, and then ask directions. What I am doing is referencing "truth" (the map) and getting counsel (asking for directions). We all need to stop on occasion to be sure our actions are in alignment with the Word of God and to check our steps with others who are in intimate relationship with Jesus. In turn, we often will save ourselves many a misstep!
- When we are not speaking the truth (even those half-truths). If we are allowed to continue in our untruths, we will see what my mom always referred to as the "snowball" effect. One lie leads to another and then another. In time, this "little white lie" which seemed kind of harmless when we told it becomes this huge mountain of a lie because we have to keep telling one lie after another to back up the first lie we told! We often need someone to "call us out" on the truth - it could save us a whole lot of misery in the end.
- When we are using words without thinking them through before we speak them. None of us speaks without thinking, right? We always "filter" our words before we speak them, right? Ummm....unless I am speaking to the angels of heaven right now, I think not! Most of the time, we are more prone to babbling on without really considering the weight or impact of our words - even idle words spoken in banter or chit-chat. Fools babble on - wisdom determines the value of the words before they are spoken!
- When we are giving into our idle thoughts. Idle thoughts get us on wrong paths. Fools just give into passive thought - feelings dictating what they do rather than rational thought. To rely upon our feelings will always get us into the messy places in life. So, learning to "tune in" a little more to our thoughts, allowing the Holy Spirit to "right" them when they are getting a little too "free-form" will save us a whole lot of idle wandering down roads best left untraveled in the first place! Just sayin!