“Unfortunately, we had a pretty hard conversation recently,” said Shellie. “I don’t think either of us enjoyed it, but I really felt her attitude and actions needed to be addressed in order to keep from hurting those around her.” Shellie was talking about the young woman she mentors. Although uncomfortable, their conversation was fruitful and actually strengthened their relationship. Just a few weeks later, the two women led a church-wide prayer time with the theme of humility.
Even outside of a formal mentoring relationship, we’ll face a tough conversation or two with a brother or sister in Christ. In Proverbs, a book full of timeless wisdom, the importance of humility in giving and receiving correction is a repeated theme. In fact, constructive criticism is called “life-giving” and leads to true wisdom (Proverbs 15:31). Proverbs 15:5 says a fool spurns discipline, while those who heed correction show good judgment. Put plainly, “the one who hates correction will die” (v. 10). As Shellie witnessed, truth spoken in love can bring new life to a relationship.
Is there someone in your life to whom a word of loving, life-giving correction should be spoken? Or perhaps you have recently received wise admonition and been tempted to respond with anger or indifference. To disregard discipline is to despise oneself, but to heed correction is to gain understanding (v. 32). Let’s ask God to help us give and receive correction with humility today.