Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Correction: Conviction or Condemnation

For several months this post has sat in my drafts as I struggled with this topic, with my own convictions and condemnations.  Who am I to talk about this with all my flaws and weaknesses?  We all know I am no theologian and that these are simply my observations.  And we definitely know, no one wants to hear about correction.

I simply ask you to read through and pray on the matter.  Most importantly, take I John 4:1 seriously and test everything to see if it's of God--be it from my blog, from our pastors and teachers or the famous preacher we see on television.  We are all human and prone to error.  Only our Father is perfect and only He can take us in the paths He desires us to go.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.  ~ II Timothy 3:16-17, ESV (emphasis mine)

So, why talk about correction?  It's so, well, icky, right?

Not one person I know relishes the thought of being corrected in any way--be it a writer whose work is being edited, a child who is misbehaving, or a friend who is doing something that might harm their marriage.  Correction wounds our pride and stings as it works through that pride to our hearts and we make the conscious decision to heed it or ignore it. 

Sadly, the backlash against the hyper-legalist spirit that held sway over the church has resulted in the hyper-grace movement.  Too often, the emphasis solely on God's love and that He doesn't want to hurt us has not been fully explained.  It sounds wonderful, but lacks conviction.  In this politically-correct world, anything that brings us discomfort or stings is condemnation.

Yes, God is good!  Yes, God loves us!  I cannot stress these enough.

But do we really understand that love?  Or have we put a worldly, romanticized view of that love in place of what we know is truth?  Are we ignoring the correction, convinced that it's condemnation?  

Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. ~ Proverbs 13:24 ESV

As a parent, it's not always easy to correct our children.  Sometimes we do it to keep them safe (do not touch that stove).  Sometimes we have to teach them so they learn and grow (the answer is not correct, try again).  Sometimes, heartbreakingly, we have to correct them for difficult things such as stealing, lying, drugs, etc., because we know it harms them.  Discipline takes different forms for different situations.  Sometimes it's a gentle word with encouragement and other times it's difficult.  No matter what form it takes, we do it because we love our children.  We discipline and correct  them so they grow, healthy and wise and prayerfully in Truth of the Father.

Our Heavenly Father loves us so much more than we could love each other.  If we do these things to protect and love our children, how could we expect any less from our Father?

In this day and age, it's become so muddied--the line between conviction and condemnation--and it would behoove us to follow I John 4:1 more than ever. It might not feel "good" (most often, it won't).  But in the end, we are so much better for the correction.  And if it's condemnation, we can pray through it, giving it to God and letting it go.

For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. ~ Hebrews 12:11 ESV

If we want peaceful righteousness in our lives, as the above verses state, then we must learn to discern the truth about conviction and condemnation.  We need to learn to give true condemnation to God and we need to learn to accept that when God corrects us it's because He does love us so very much.  


No comments:

Post a Comment