This week my dog, Winston, and I had a showdown of wills—my desire to trim his horribly long nails and his will to be left alone. I’m not sure where his complete and utter abhorrence of nail trimming originates. I’m sure it’s from some dark moment from his puppyhood. The fact remains he is in danger of harming himself and others. Because I love him, his nails must be corrected!
This job is usually a two-man task. My daughter feeds him wienies, while I sneak up and grab a paw. This week I had no help, but I determined—today is the day, this has gone on long enough! As you can imagine, it wasn’t pretty. I persevered and ended up with a small tooth mark and bruise on my hand from him biting me! I know he didn’t mean to hurt me. In his mind, he was only defending himself from the horrible silver-trimming monster. He saw the potential hurt, not the intended help. Why is it so hard to be corrected?
Correction: a change made to something in order to correct or improve it, or the action of making such a change (Cambridge Dictionary)
Sometimes I’m like Winston and bite the hand that’s trying to help and heal me when it looks like correction. Correction comes to keep us from hurting others, and ourselves, but why does it sting? Hebrews 12 says God only corrects those He loves, but why don’t I feel loved during the initial correction? It’s uncomfortable, it’s scary and it requires change. Sadly, our first response is defense.
So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. (Hebrews 12: 5-6, MSG)
A few years ago, the doctor warned my husband that he had to lose weight in order to correct his blood pressure. He tells the story how his first thought was, “well, you’re not so trim yourself!” The Lord quickly corrected him, “Well, we’re not talking about the doctor now are we?”
I’m loving the Olympics right now. Listening to a coach’s correction is crucial (even in table tennis)! Can you imagine an athlete looking at their coach and saying, “Well I’d like to see you do it!” No. They are getting paid to correct and train them. But sadly, this is often our defensive response when God sends people our way to train and correct us.
Correction requires a choice. Will I RECEIVE correction and change, trusting God has my best in mind? OR, will I RESIST and grow stagnant in my defense? That decision will be the mark of maturity.
A poignant verse in Zephaniah 3 reveals the results of resisting correction.
“Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.” Zephaniah 3:1-2
If we draw near to Him, we’ll see His love behind the correction and hear His true voice. Instead of hearing, “You screw up, what are you thinking? You better do better!” We hear the Father’s heart saying, “Hey, let’s tweak this and you’re doing to be a lot happier with the results of your life.” Maybe the next time we sense the Holy Spirit’s correction; we’ll welcome the scary trimmers that help heal us. Even if we don’t feel “loved” at the moment, we’ll realize how LOVE is the motivation and will be the result if we obey.
If you love Me, obey the commandments I have given you. John 14:15 (The Voice)
My prayer of correction…
Lord, keep your finger on my heart. Give me a teachable spirit. I don’t want to be a know-it-all, because I defiantly have more to know! Help me to keep growing and learning. I boldly say…(brace yourself) CORRECT ME Lord, and I will obey. Because no matter rather I FEEL loved at the moment or not—I trust your heart for me is good and your lovingkindness leads me to life through my repentance.