"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid." – Proverbs 12:1
I remember writing a paper for a college English class at the University of Nebraska that really has stuck with me. I have no idea what the paper was about, but what I do remember was getting back the first draft from the teacher and having it be so covered with red correction ink it was dripping. It looked like the script of a horror movie coming alive on the page!
Well, after following the guidance of my teacher and looking at where I messed up, I turned in my final draft of the paper the next week. Along with the paper, I attached a brand new red pen in the package and a note saying "I thought you may need this after my last one. Sorry about that." Listen, I wasn't voted Class Brown Noser in high school for nothing.
In the end, I got a 100% on the paper and actually got an A+ for the entire semester. So needless to say, I took the direction of my teacher and fixed my mistakes.
I'm fairly certain I've never met anyone in all my different interactions in life that loved to be corrected or disciplined.
- Not one of my baseball teammates ran up to me after a terrible day batting and said "Boy, I can't wait to meet with coach tomorrow and have him tear my behind apart!"
- My brothers never got excited wondering what our dad would do to them when he got home and found out they broke the dry wall in the basement.
- I've never met a girl that loved sprinting into my office to tell me she cheated on her boyfriend just to see what I'd say.
Correction and discipline are not naturally woven into the human condition to be enjoyed like holding a baby or kissing your wife. In most cases they are avoided with the same intensity as the perfume sprayers at the mall. Our minds attach a negative connotation to both of them but in different ways.
Correction is often seen as a sign of weakness where the person feels that the correction comes out of the need to fix your screw up. We feel like everyone is watching and pointing at us.
Discipline on the other hand seems to incite the feeling of being put in the corner or sent to your room because you did something wrong. For my Catholic friends out there the nuns with the rulers would enter the picture here.
None of us enjoy having our bubble touched. We will kick, scream and even threaten violence to anyone that dares to pop the personal bubble we place around us. The bubble that says "I'm fine; everyone else is jacked up, and if it ain't broke why fix it?" Bubbles filled with old high school yearbooks, participation ribbons, employee of the month certificates, and whatever else helps to keep us built up inside. But have you noticed that it doesn't take much to pop these?
Little things like an odd look or a misread text message can be just as destructive as a cheating spouse or an intervention for a drug problem. The bubbles pop very, very easily.
I can relate. I wish I had more pats on the back than wagging fingers in my face, but what I’ve come to realize is that by resisting correction I'm missing out on God's desires for me. In fact by resisting He calls me stupid. Seems harsh, but once again…He's right!
The reason is that God's correction is not meant to show you how dumb you are, it is meant to put you on a path that is better than your current path of destruction. It would have done me no good if my teacher looked at my paper and said "Looks great!" just so I could feel good about myself. God would not be a loving Father if He didn't provide course corrections to us in our life.
Additionally, God's discipline, whether passed out directly from the Big Man upstairs or through thoughtful words of loved ones or a pastor, are not meant to put you in your place like a child. They are meant to lovingly keep you from further damage and help you avoid the freight train of sin that is ready to smack you in the face the way you are headed.
So you and I can either learn to see the correction and discipline we receive as knowledge to become more spiritually mature, or we can punch the messenger in the face and keep living in our sensitive personal bubbles.
Just know, sooner or later, no matter how hard you try….Pop!