Our problem with correction

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I was reading Tami’s (Lessons by Heart) post “Meanwhile…” and it made me think about the nature of correction and discipline in the Church.

And how we view correction in light of our freedom in Christ and unconditional love of the Father.

You see, the issue we have with correction is that nobody likes receiving it! And I’m not just talking about manipulation or ungodly control, but godly correction.

But before we go further, I think we all know that there has to be a place for correction. None of us have arrived, so that means we all need some correction in our life.

The problem lies in our perception. Before we came to Christ, we lived like orphans, separated from our heavenly Father. Add to this, we may have had an unhealthy history with being corrected–by our parents and other authority figures.

So, even coming to Christ and being adopted as a son, we still think like an orphan.

Orphans, by definition, are fatherless (either in their thinking or reality). Now,  we might’ve had an earthly father but he was angry and abusive…or distant and apathetic. And even if he was good, he wasn’t perfect. Regardless of our experience, we bring these images into view when responding to correction whether we like to admit it or not.

Orphans see correction as rejection and abandonment. So when religious orphans get corrected, even in a godly manner, they will often leave and go to another church.

And not usually without letting everyone one know how bad the person who corrected them was!

For orphans feel alone and unprotected so they will always seek to justify themselves.

But sons see correction as an opportunity to grow closer to the Father and become more like Jesus. Consider what we are told in Hebrews. I think the Message paraphrase will help us here…

Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children,
and that God regards you as his children?

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.

God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out.
He’s treating you as dear children.
This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training,
the normal experience of children.
Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves.
Would you prefer an irresponsible God? (Heb.12:5-7 MSG)

 Sons embrace correction as training. Furthermore, they know the Father’s intent and outcome, as the writer of Hebrews goes on to say…

While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them.
But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best.
At the time, discipline isn’t much fun.
It always feels like it’s going against the grain.
Later, of course, it pays off handsomely,
for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. (Heb.12:9-11  MSG)

Beloved, we all need fathering. And we need to know the Father’s heart toward us.

First, to know that our heavenly Father’s intent is always good and always done in pure unconditional love. You’re not being rejected or even abandoned, you’re being trained and brought into full maturity as a son.

Secondly, that He will NEVER leave you…His love NEVER gives up on you either! He embraces you and brings you into intimate fellowship with Himself through Christ.

But we also need earthly spiritual fathers. (And I don’t just mean male leaders. “Father” is a relational term. Spiritual mothers are “fathers” in the Kingdom.)

A spiritual father who wants what’s best for their protégé, not what’s best for them. They’re not building their kingdom but seeking Christ’s Kingdom and letting Him build His church.

Spiritual fathers are those who have been fathered themselves and have become mature sons in their heavenly Father’s embrace. He or she has learned how to correct through pure unconditional love without using fear, manipulation or control.

A father who can regards his or her spiritual son according to who they are in Christ, not based on who they’re not (2 Cor.5:16). Accountability is defined by calling them up into their new identity in Christ, not by trying to put a fence around their behavior.

And if they fail or fall, a father, who is spiritual, restores them in the spirit of gentleness, considering themselves being susceptible to the same failures (Gal.6:1).

Finally, abiding in the Father’s love in Christ is critical to understanding the heart behind correction (John 15:9-11). For this is where we walk in fullness of joy! I won’t go into that further since I wrote about it here

So, let’s stop acting like orphans, running away from discomfort or from being told things we don’t like. We must all grow up into Christ, no longer being immature children who don’t know who they are and why they are here (Eph.4:14-15).

Let’s look at this the right way–that our Father in heaven loves us, and someone here on earth loves us enough to tell us what we need to grow. You are loved.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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9 Responses to Our problem with correction

  1. Hi Mel, such a great post and something I’ve been thinking about recently. We don’t like correction but how can we ever change without it? It’s better that we experience it no matter how unpleasant it may be at the moment because it will prevent us from repeatedly making the same mistakes in life. And when God corrects us it is always out of His deepest love for us. We should accept His rebuke and correction humbly and by doing so we’ll learn and grow to be more like Him.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen, Anna. That is the whole point, that we grow up into Christ. This is why receiving His perfect love is so important. We resist correction because of fear (1 John 4:18), we view it as punishment and a personal rejection. But when we finally see His unconditional love and acceptance of us, that we are fully affirmed as His beloved sons and daughters, then we can embrace and endure His correction, knowing He always has our highest good in mind. So, now we see it as needful and even good!

      Thanks for your insightful comments, as always. Blessings.

  2. TK says:

    What I kept thinking through all this is that we should be careful who we choose as a spiritual father in this life. There are people out there who might think they know all of God’s desires and who pressure people to see things there way who are actually living as orphans themselves.

    • Mel Wild says:

      That’s absolutely right, TK. It’s just as much the spiritual father’s responsibility to understand the Father’s heart and not be orphan-minded as it is the one he or she is fathering. The problem is that orphan-hearted religion produces religious orphans, not knowing who they are and just waiting to go to heaven when they die! Too often we see bad examples–those trying to affirm themselves, wanting power and control because of their own insecurities–who’ve never worked through issues themselves. So, sadly, we haven’t seen a lot of good models in churches. But I think that is changing as we are getting a greater revelation of sonship, the Father’s love and grace.

      I heard somewhere that God is going to restore the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers. 🙂

  3. nixolivier says:

    Today I was thinking about the phrase: “the moments that define you”. The Lord has been speaking to me about living in the moment-enjoying all the moments-and I realised how people place a lot of emphasis on the things we do, making these things define who we are/how successful we are. In my experience I have come to realise that it is not how I am reacting in the bad moments that defines me but rather that the Lord is using those moments to reveal what is in my heart-what I believe about myself that isn’t in line with what He believes about me. He has also used the more positive experiences I’ve had to reveal His love to me, showing me in a different way what HE believes about me……….my point here being that Our Father has used “good and bad” moments for me to gently correct how I see myself and how He sees me…….He is always doing this in love. Before I received His unconditional love for me I always thought the bad moments was my punishment and the good was His blessings. The way I see it now is that He can use everything to reveal more of His love to us, we just need to open our eyes to see His love in all those revealing moments 😉 Life is full of good and bad moments, when you know that He is with you through it all and that He always wants the best for you it becomes easier to accept/see His correction as direction.

    • Mel Wild says:

      You said it perfectly! Amen and amen! Thank you for sharing these awesome insights revealed to you from the Father’s heart. Blessings..

  4. Wonderful, balanced post. The only thing less fun than being corrected is being the one doing the correcting! It takes a lot of soul searching with Abba concerning motives, then careful consideration of what to say and how to say it. I’m getting lots of practice at this currently. Can I go on vacation and come back when matters have taken care of themselves, pretty please?? 😉

    \o/

    • Mel Wild says:

      “The only thing less fun than being corrected is being the one doing the correcting!” You said it there! When I finally realized that the person having to correct me was being trained him or herself, walking out of his or her comfort zone as much as I was, I had a lot more grace for them. 🙂 I think this is where trust and grace come in. First, we trust that they have the right intentions and heart for us (that comes in relationship). But even if they say it wrong, we still have grace for them and receive the truth that’s buried in there that God wants us to know about ourselves. Thanks! Blessings.

  5. Pingback: In a Million Years | Lessons by Heart

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