Sunday, January 14, 2007

How To Handle Words of Reproof

I was confronted by a friend and they had me dead to rights. I was guily as charged, I just did not want to admit it. And to think these words should have been easier to swallow than the words of someone I might deem "unacceptable" to correct me. Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Provers). Distasteful are the words of a turkey we don't like (2 Opinions 5:13)!

Anyway, how do we accept correction from others, friend or foe? I find it helpful first of all to try to determine if the correction really is correction or is more in the nature of criticism. If it is criticism I will listen and thank the person for their insight. (Maybe more on that later.) If it seems like the person is genuine, whether I like it or not, I try to ask them more about what they mean. "Could you help me with that? Tell me more about what you mean. When did you see me do that last?" If you get people squarely "on your side", think counselor not crucifier, there is almost no limit to how helpful they can actually be.

Listening to their response to these questions/comments will give you a great insight in where they are coming from. Honestly, even if their words hurt my experience has been that they have found an area where I really do need to improve. Sometimes this is simply because others can see things we cannot. Recently I was in a church committee meeting and several good Christian souls seemed to gang up on another. After the meeting I mentioned it to the "gang of three" and they were all totally unaware that they had done anything offensive in crushing the spirit of the offended one.

One of the benefits of being open to others is that they may have some very real answers to what we need to do to correct the problem. Sometimes the one who spots the problem also has a very good suggestion about how to to fix it. Then again, sometimes they don't! Listen with open mind and a wisdom from the Father.

Always be thankful. Unless the person coming to you is one of the "well intentioned dragons" of the church it probably took some degree of courage to approach you, especially if you are a position of leadership.

I hope this helps. So, take my advice; I'm not using it anyway!

1 comment:

-Jonathan-<> said...

Too many times we speak when silence is an least I do...anyway, the point is, being a good listener = being a good friend!