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