A Ticked Off Correctional Officer

Police Car

Have you ever corrected someone just because you they ticked you off? You ask your husband to take the trash out. He forgets, like he always does. Your basement begins to reek of spoiled cottage cheese and old coffee. Your heart begins to reek of anger and impatience.

Why does he always forget to take the trash out? Can’t he be faithful in just this one area? This is sin, and I need to correct him on this! And so in your anger, you correct your husband with all the gentleness of a professional wrestler. I’ve been there.

Several years ago I heard Dave Harvey give a message entitled The Surgeon, the Scalpel, and the Saint In Sin, in which he said that the goal of all our correction should be to connect people back to God. Sin isn’t primarily against us, but against God. When someone sins against us, it hurts our relationship with them. More importantly though, it strains their relationship with God.

That’s why it’s so crucial to avoid correcting someone simply because they annoyed us. People can sense when we’re angry, and anger never produces godly change. In James 1:20 it says -

…for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

All correction should be rooted in the desire to connect people back to God. Our goal isn’t to get them down on their knees asking our forgiveness. Our goal is to see them experience the transforming grace of God.

So the next time you’re getting ready to correct your husband, wife, brother, or friend, pause for a moment and examine your heart. Are you correcting them because you’re angry, or because you care for their soul? Are you looking for an apology, or trying to restore them in their fellowship with God? Correction is important, but the heart motive matters as well.

+photo by dcJohn

  • Stephen Altrogge

    Jocelyn – I'm glad this was helpful for you. It's so easy to simply correct someone as an angry reaction, rather than out of care for them. This is something I need God's help in as well!

  • Jocelyn

    Thank you for this – I have been praying for direction in this area. How much do I push my husband, who isn’t in tune with God. My anger is not showing him God’s love, and I know with my children I want to be in control. Well I am not really in control so…, Thank you for helping me stop and think and for giving me the much needed guidance to improve this part of our relationships. My daughter drew me for anger in art class the other day – what a wake up call.

  • BethAnn

    Stephen,
    Wow! What insight the Lord has given you…thank you, thank you, thank you, for always faithfully pointing us to Him! My goal, by God’s Grace, is to love Him more, know Him deeply and serve Him faithfully, but how easily I can be distracted by my emotions and put the focus back on me, in any situation! Thanks for reminding me that HE is in control and sovereign and the focus in any situation is our relationship with Him!

  • Stephen Altrogge

    BethAnn – Thanks so much for you kind words. I have to point out that any insight I’ve received has simply been passed on to me by wiser men. In this case, it was Dave Harvey. I would highly recommend listening to his message by the way!

  • http://blog.mattng.com Matthew Ng

    This is a really great reminder Stephen. It is so hard to have right motives in your correction, it is something I really struggle with. Lately I’ve also been struggling with the flip-side in receiving correction. I think similarly we need to receive correction as a means of something to pull us closer to God not as personal offense.

    I will definitely be listening to the message you posted. Thanks again!

  • Stephen Altrogge

    Matthew –

    I really struggle to receive correction as well, so I can totally relate. And I appreciate your insight – correction is meant to draw us closer to God. Thanks for sharing that.

  • http://www.judahupdate.blogspot.com Briana

    I typically and sadly take the approach of a “professional wrestler” with my husband, and ironically enough, over not taking the trash out among other things. :) Have you been a fly on our wall? :) Must be a universal husband/wife thing…when will you men just learn to take the trash out? Goodness. But, truthfully, it’s a good admonition I always need to hear. Thanks, Stephen, for the reminder.

  • Stephen Altrogge

    Briana – The trash is just one of those things! I mean really, who likes to take the trash out?