The desire for correcting others when they’ve made a mistake is a good one. More so when this correction is followed by showing them how to do better. Yet, as laudable as this is, “the how ” and “the why ” for the correction matters.
1 Corinthians 16:14 tells us to do all things in love. This means our motive matters. There’s a way correction defeats the entire purpose of correcting – to encourage doing better. In this light, let’s examine some wrong approaches to correcting others.
4 Wrong Approaches to Correcting Others…
1. To only show off knowledge
One of the wrong approaches is correcting with the desire to only show off one’s knowledge. Obviously, this type of correction is not done in love. Correction should be focused on edifying others and not shining the spotlight on one’s perfections. If you correct for the purpose of showing off, you’re wrong.One of the wrong approaches is correcting with the desire to only show off one's knowledge. Obviously, this type of correction is not done in love. Click To Tweet
2. Demeaning or embarrassing the person
Love isn’t self seeking and it doesn’t dishonour others (1 Corinthians 13:5). Therefore, it is unloving to correct in a way that demeans a person or in a way that aims to embarrass them. First, they might listen to the correction and seek to change (or not) but they are left feeling unworthy. If they already know they are in the wrong, your words might just be heaping more condemnation on them and that is not your aim (right?).
Correcting to embarrass or demean is like pouring salt on an open wound. It stings. Recently, a popular model by the name Chrissy Teigen experienced backlash across social media and other media outlets for her demeaning comments, many of which criticised and bullied others. Suffice to say, she lost a number of business deals as a result. Funnily enough, some of these comments were made many years ago.
Even if the repercussions of one’s “corrections” may not be as grievous as Chrissy Teigen’s, it’s best to speak with grace at all times.
Another thing to note here is that correcting in a way that brings dishonour may not even lead to a change of heart. Because of your approach, the person you’re correcting may not even listen to you. They may become unresponsive to whatever you’ve said or will say in the future.
3. Branding a person by their mistakes
God’s perspective towards people should be your perspective towards them. That a person made a mistake does not mean they should be canceled. Just like God, we should give people room for repentance.God's perspective towards people should be your perspective towards them. That a person made a mistake does not mean they should be canceled. Click To Tweet
4. Focusing on the mistake alone without a solution
Telling someone about their mistake without showing them how to do better is not helpful. If you think someone has made a mistake, don’t focus on it alone, tell them how to do better next time.
With all these in mind, be mindful that love is intentional and required at every point in time. It is patient and makes allowances for people’s faults (Eph 4:2). Even when you have to tell or teach someone something, remember love isn’t harsh, it’s kind. Always correct in love and with wisdom.
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