but whoever heeds correction gains understanding. - Proverbs 15:32
None of us enjoy it when people point out that we need to change. We don't like being told that we have switched from one addiction to another. Or, that we are allowing someone's addiction to control our lives. Or that we are running from intimacy. Or that we are behaving in ways that are destructive to ourselves or to others. We don't like hearing these things.
But we need this kind of honesty. We are not 'wired' for honest self-assesment. At the first sight of a problem we experience shame. And our defenses go up. We put our hands over our ears and stop listening.
We need other people to keep us honest and to help us see what we cannot see about ourselves. Honest feedback is one of our best hopes for initiating change. As this text puts it, if we 'heed correction', we can gain a lot of understanding. So, it is good to pay attention to the 'correction' and 'discipline' we get from others. We are not helped, of course, by judgmentalism and shame - we have enough of that to last us a lifetime. But we need to cultivate relationships with people who will - with love and kindness - tell us the truth about ourselves. This information can be the starting point for change in our lives.
Lord, help me to build relationships that sustain honesty.
Give me friends who will love me enough to tell me the truth.
Help me to pay attention to correction.
Give me the courage to see myself clearly.
Keep me from shame and self-loathing.
Give me the openness to correction that makes change possible.
Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan
National Association for Christian Recovery