How to Bring Correction
Leaders must correct others. We’ve got to do it, so we should learn to do it well.
The good shepherd in Psalm 23 carries a rod and a staff, protecting sheep both from predators and from their own waywardness. He is an example to pastors and church leaders, who must correct bad ideas and bad attitudes, poor theology and ungodly behavior. We must correct slackers, rebels, grumblers, drunkards, the sexually immoral, the greedy, and the hotheaded. We must correct both heretics and the mistaken. (And it’s helpful to know the difference.)
It’s honorable to overlook offenses. It’s a mark of grace, and it’s a beautiful thing. But if people are (1) dishonoring God, (2) hurting others, (3) damaging relationships, or (4) hurting themselves, some compassionate person should do something about it. And we who must give account for those entrusted to our care will eventually be sorry if we don’t act.
Qualifications for Effective Correction
The apostle Paul says, “The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.” (2 Timothy 2:24-25, ESV) From this passage, we learn that the qualifications for bringing effective correction include…
- being kind to everyone
- skill at avoiding angry arguments
- patience with difficult or unkind people
- the ability to teach – which is less about public speaking than about the effective application of God’s word to specific situations
Note that he goal is “correction with gentleness.” As a young man, I tended not to correct until I became frustrated and spoke in anger. I’ve had to learn to be bold, and to not store things up. I have friends who have always been bold, but had to learn to be gentle. So all leaders have something to learn. Ask your spouse or a co-worker to give you a grade in these five areas. Then ask God to help you strengthen any weak points.
In my next post, I’ll share some thoughts on how to prepare for conversations where we expect to offer correction.