Do you care enough about those you love to correct them? Correcting the people in our lives who find themselves off track isn’t always easy. Do we correct in love instead of condemn in anger? Following the example of Jesus’ life, we see how He cared enough to correct lovingly.
The woman at the well needed correction; yet, those who knew her steered clear and made no effort to help her rise above the sinful life she lived. She was the subject of gossip and ridicule. Perhaps that’s why she found herself all alone while drawing water from the well. Then, along came Jesus. He stopped for water to quench His thirst. Striking up a conversation with this woman with a reputation was part of His plan that would cleanse her heart and change her life. He accepted a cup of water sharing thankfulness for her kindness and generating conversation about things of interest — nice weather lately, how’s your family doing, your kindness is appreciated. Jesus knew her lifestyle but didn’t treat her like an outcast. He talked with her without being drawn into her world. She marveled at his kind heart and words of truth relating to her life. Jesus knew she needed correction, but He gave it without condemnation. Can’t you just see Jesus’ smiling face as He spoke words of correction that would change her life, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” She did go and tell the good news of this man named Jesus. What a difference it made when Jesus was willing to show humility for her act of kindness, talk with her openly when most people dared not go near her, and finally share words of correction that caused her to change her ways and win many people to Christ. How might we have handled that opportunity to correct without condemning? Revelation 3:19 shares how we should change our minds and attitudes. Living our lives in amazement of God’s gifts and glory is wise. Giving and receiving correction in the spirit of love is what Jesus would have us do. Are we following His example or avoiding what He leads us to say and do to help others?
Last winter, my phone rang early in the morning, while darkness still lingered and I was dressing for the gym. A friend, a real friend, called to give me a word from the Lord. She shared how she had wrestled all night, seeking the right words and way to relay this message of love and correction placed on her heart. Now, most of us will receive words of correction, but this early morning phone call caught me totally off guard.
I began sharing with her words from a book by Joyce Myer I had finished reading only a few hours earlier. I read from the last chapter, quoting how sometimes God removes things from our lives that come between us and the Lord — a job we glorify and put first might bring demotion instead of promotion; a possession we idolize might be destroyed, but before I could finish Joyce’s words, she shared the words that changed my perspective but not my purpose.
She shared concerns and correction that I needed to hear, words that could only have come from God. What we shared that morning was a divine, Holy Ghost experience I will never forget. It is stored safely in my heart. Things happen in our lives that can’t be explained or understood by others. I hung up the phone and wept on my face before my Lord. Then, I walked through my house praying softly with tears still streaming. Cleansing was taking place in my heart. I humbled myself before God and thanked Him for this devoted friend willing to stand up and speak words I needed to hear, but didn’t really think they were for me. Aren’t we like that, my friends? We want to think we’ve got it all under control, that we are helping bring people to Christ instead of hindering what God would have us do. So, I stayed home from the gym and rested in his sweet spirit as dawn brought light to the darkness surrounding my world.
My friend did not condemn me, instead she spoke words of truth gently laced with love and encouragement. I cried most of the day and night. My younger son was moving to Charlotte and thought my tears were from a spirit of ‘mama can’t let go’! He listened and told me he didn’t know what to say, but he took my hand and prayed with his mama and confirmed his love and support. My older son listened and lovingly led me to understanding through hours of mother-son talking and sharing of where we’ve been and where God wants us to go. He talked about Job and his trials and triumph over the enemy, about Paul being corrected to the point where God blinded him and changed his ways and name from Saul, about the tough times we’ve faced as a family while acknowledging many families have faced and are facing even tougher times and trials.
He said, “Mama, you’re trying too hard. You’re too passionate.”
He told me I had to be who I am, just as he is who he is; we have to be real, to accept that all that we have experienced in life (the good and the bad) is part of who we are. Through my tears, I saw a son God gave us to bring up in the way he should go, sitting in the seat where his Dad lived that testimony every day. I smiled and thanked my son for following Jesus and my Savior for leading him, for bringing good from the bad that threatened to keep us from His plans for our lives. I don’t know all the plans God has for me, for my family, for Tim’s Gift, but I know He knows. We seek His will, His way, in His time as we step in faith to the plans He has for us to give help and hope to people in our community and share His love wherever He leads.