What's your correction attitude? This guest post written by Marco Coote compares our correction attitude to snakes. We are invited to introspection: are any of these snakes present in my life?
I stood and listened to my wife and son in the next room. The ten-year-old was chastising his mother about how she had responded in a particular situation. That he had adopted the role of parent struck me as odd, even more so when the action found so distasteful in his mother was one he often depicted.
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What was also interesting was that a few moments earlier had been correcting him for something he had done. He basically listened to what she had to say so he could point out her flaws. Their conversation struck a chord in my mind: if our correction attitude were a snake, what type would it be?
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You may be wondering why our correction attitude to a snake? I'll tell you. The snake is one of the sneakiest creatures on earth - the Bible says it was "more than any beast of the field that the Lord God had made" (Genesis 3: 1 NKJV). Like a snake, our correction attitude lies dormant until it strikes. Most of the times, we don't even know it's there until the attacks.
Each person will respond to correction differently - some will appreciate it and adapt accordingly. Others will interpret it as criticism or a personal attack. It's in that second response that reads the real danger. Instead of learning and growing, the person's attitude becomes lethal and poisonous.
Their correction attitude becomes like a snake just about to strike. Three snakes come to mind when thinking of this counterproductive response to criticism: a rattlesnake, a king cobra, and an anaconda. I'll explain each of these correction attitudes in the tower.
Rattlesnake lifts and rattles its tail before strikes. A person with the rattlesnake correction attitude tends to shake or have an annoyed look on their face when corrected. Other behavior exhibited is a tendency to roll their eyes. This person is listening only to reply and lash out.
"Nobody's perfect." they may say before beginning a catalog of the facts of any and everyone who comes to mind. They spew venom because in their minds they do not have a right to point out what they are doing wrong.
If they do not attack at the moment of correction, they slither into a corner and rattling, waiting for the right moment to strike. They only need to see someone else make a mistake for them to attack.
The person with the king cobra correction attitude puffs up the moment they are corrected. They speak as loudly as they can - complaining and arguing. They shoot at all not caring whom they affect.
In fact, their mindset is the more people they can negatively impact the better. They do not want to be corrected so they hope that when they attack you will be intimidated to the point you never attempt to correct them again.
These individuals listen attentively to the correction, at least, that’s the impression they project. What they’re really doing is seeking enough ammunition against you so they can destroy you. Don’t be surprised if this person befriends you and seems to seek your company. Secretly, their plan is to lull you into a false sense of security.
Like the anaconda, they wrap themselves around you becoming part of your inner circle. But beware! They resent you for correcting them and will not be satisfied until you crush and swallow you. Only your utter destruction will satisfy them.
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At some time we have all responded in one of the above ways. But Jesus doesn't call us to be destructive and venomous. Instead, He called us to be lights in a dark world (Matthew 5: 14-16). Instead of striking out and attacking when we are corrected, we should be willing to listen to what the other person has to say. When we are corrected, it is not a personal attack - at least, it shouldn't be.
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The Bible tells us that whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid (Proverbs 12: 1). We should be willing to list and accept correction from others.
As followers of Christ, we are called to be an example to people who do not know God. Let us learn to examine ourselves so that we can become better examples in a world that needs to come out of darkness and walk in the light.
Proverbs 12: 1 (NKJV)
Whoever loves instruction, but
he who hates correction is stupid.
Hebrews 12:11 (NKJV)
Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Proverbs 9: 7-9 (NKJV)
“He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
Do not correct a scoffer, read it hate you;
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
Teach a man and he will increase in learning. "
James 5: 19-20 (NKJV)
Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns is from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
What type of snake can your correction attitude be compared to?
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