[Month 5 (Week 19-20): This post is part of the “6 Month Discipleship Plan” series]
To say, “I stand corrected” is to admit that you said something that was not correct or that you did something wrong. I recently said this phrase to my thesis adviser and my boss at work.
I skipped a step in the process of coordinating with my thesis committee which led us, including myself, to confusion. Basically, I submitted a document to my thesis committee that was not reviewed yet by my thesis adviser. This led my committee to assume that I am ready to do my preliminary defense when in fact, my research proposal was still all over the place. My thesis adviser called my attention and in response, I tried to justify as to why I skipped the step — “The back-end support group said that I should already send this document to them,” I said. But even with justifications, it was clear that I bypassed her authority as my thesis adviser.
More than a month ago, I made an honest but HUUUGE mistake at work. I personally called it “The stupidest 2 seconds of my life”. I accidentally pressed the email “send” button to thousands of our employees with an unsigned policy that should not be disseminated to anyone. Yes, I was instructed to prepare the said email but was told not to send it yet for obvious reasons. The recall button was not very helpful because the Outlook phone app does not support it.
Big picture: my boss got extremely pissed and frustrated, and I can’t blame her. The result of this mistake caused our department’s communal email to receive hundreds of inquiries and complaints, and she had to think of a way to control the damage at the same time, own up to a mistake she did not do. Again, even with justifications, it was clear that I was wrong.
In both scenarios, it was hard to admit that I was wrong. But truth be told, it was harder not to.
“I stand corrected. Please forgive me.”
And I see this a lot in my walk with the Lord. The difference however is: Before God, I can’t just stand corrected. Before His holiness, goodness and faithfulness, a human being like me cannot just stand corrected.
Before Him, “I kneel corrected”.
Whenever we realize that we fall short of His glory, though it’s hard to say, “I’m sorry God for ____. I admit that I sinned against you. Please forgive me.”, it is still harder not to say anything to Him.
When we shoo away His correction, we not only shoo away fellowship with Him but even more so, His faithfulness. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Recently, I received two corrections from the Lord — in trying to solve personal struggles with my own effort, and in forgetting that cell groups are founded on love and not curriculum.
The first correction taught me that I cannot solve personal struggles on my own – my efforts will flake and my intentions for doing so will only lead me to more self-sufficiency and self-centeredness. The more I grip on the “how I can overcome this so I can please the Lord,” the more I fail and get frustrated. I praise God because He allowed failures and frustrations from my efforts and even strategies so I can finally ask/beg Him for His power, and also admit that I was self-dependent and that I tried so hard and foolishly to claim righteousness by my own works.
Yes, this made me kneel… in tears — on the cold tile flooring of our bathroom, one Friday morning. I am still learning but I praise God because His grace and mercy constantly pull me back to Him, especially to/through His word.
For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. – Psalm 32:4-5
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. – Proverbs 28:13
The second correction taught me that being in small/cell groups is not for the purpose of bringing them to a “lesson” but bringing them to “love” — a love deepened by being concerned with one another in prayer, knowing one another beneath the surface and truly hearing them out — like Jesus.
I recently made the mistake of prioritizing lessons to a group of students that we meet weekly. I thought that being tough on them using a structured set of lessons would encourage them to take the Bible seriously. But I was wrong.
My initiative threw “intentionality” away for the sake of biblical “information”. It turned out to be a silent disaster. My initiative clogged a stream of opportunities to deepen relationships.
But I didn’t know it was wrong and disastrous until my Bible study leader called my attention. At first, in all honesty, I was not very open about her corrections and suggestions. (I told her about this later on). I rejected it in my head with justifications. I had no peace so I asked God to give me clarity.
And clarity He gave. Not only did the Holy Spirit led me to the thought: “Go back to Jesus. How did he disciple? What was his pattern? Is His pattern of ministry the same with the pattern you are following/doing or are you doing ministry according to your own pattern or strategy? — He also used two friends: a friend who randomly opened up about a personal discipleship story that reminded me of how discipleship is relationship, and another friend who posted a Facebook status about how disastrous it is to assume discipleship when there is no true loving relationship built beneath it.
After realizing the mess I have done, I knelt before God… in tears — at a corner wall of my bedroom, one Wednesday morning. I praise God because He corrected me immediately yet He allowed me to go through it for me to learn.
It is freeing to kneel corrected for whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray (Proverbs 10:17), and whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid (Proverbs 12:1).