FAITH FUEL

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Receiving Correction: Is It Like Sulfuric Acid Poured On Your Head?


Have you ever had sulfuric acid poured on you? It feels kind of like ... well I wouldn't know exactly, because if I ever had sulfuric acid poured on me I think I would be incredibly disfigured, or dead. But let's pretend for a moment that it is painful. Psalm 141:5 says that a righteous man's correction (reprove, rebuke) is like oil on his head and that he would not refuse it. Now you and I might not be in the custom of pouring oil on our heads, but let's pretend for a moment that it is soothing (in ancient times oil would have been used as a commodity of exchange, cosmetic, medicine, food, illuminant, and in religious rights). Oil was a good thing. David says correction is a good thing (i.e. Nathan's rebuke in 2 Sam 12:1-10, and David's ensuing Psalm 51). So if correction is a good thing, supposedly soothing and healing, why does it feel so much like sulfuric acid, burning my hair and scarring my retina on it's way down (c.f. Heb 12:11)? Well, part of it is I don't value the harvest it produces if I allow myself to be trained by it. A person who truly values being more like Jesus and following Him more closely, someone who wants to be changed more into His image and love God increasingly through their obedience will appreciate, value, and love correction (c.f. Prov 12:1). A stupid person will run from this pain, not realizing the immense growth that God is trying to bring about and so miss out. God is chiefest goal and biggest concern is with our being a butterfly ... not the pain that it takes the caterpillar to get there. Think about it; when a team of doctors and physical therapists are trying to rehab a professional running back's knee after ACL/MCL surgery, they know that he is willing to endure, and even lean into and embrace the pain of rehab (because it is quite painful) simply because he values the end product; being able to run, cut, pivot, and jump better than others once more. And after they have subjected him to much pain and trauma, he says, "thank you". This is the imagery that David uses in Ps 141:5. True, it is painful in when someone corrects or rebukes you, but do you say thank you at the end? Do you value what that correction is building and creating in you enough to not only thank God for reproving you, but enough to thank the (many times) human vessel He chooses to use in order to bring it about? A good barometer of how much you actually love correction is how easy you make it for others to give it to you. If you take an honest look around and no one is really ever correcting you ... on anything ... there's a good chance that you are sending signals that you appreciate correction and reproof about as much as sulfuric acid being poured on your head (that or relational isolation needs to be looked at). So how about it friend? Let's you and I learn to love and appreciate when God brings correction our way (through whatever means) and so treats us as His children (Heb 12:5-6). Let's learn to be thankful (outwardly and inwardly) to those courageous and loving souls who allow themselves to be God's instruments in our lives for our own good. Let's embrace the struggle and difficulty of fighting for humility and lean into the pain of our pride being scathed ... for just like the caterpillar, our struggle shall have a glorious end (c.f. Rev 21:1-4).