CORRECTION – THE OTHER DIRTY WORD
Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
Nobody likes correction, especially church people. I should know, I have pastored a church in New Orleans for over 33 years and I can’t tell you how many people have been offended when I tried to bring correction into their lives. Actually, correction is one of the chief jobs of a pastor. It may be a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. I guess that is what the prophetic nature of my chicken ranch job was all about. You know the one, the chief chicken poop scooper. That is what Paul told the young pastor Timothy he left over the church in Ephesus, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching.” Martin Luther also spoke about the minister’s responsibility to correct those under his care. Listen carefully to his timeless words.
“The world doesn’t want to be punished. It wants to remain in darkness. It doesn’t want to be told that what it believes is false. If you also don’t want to be corrected, then you might as well leave the church and spend your time at the bar and brothel. But if you want to be saved—and remember that there’s another life after this one—you must accept correction. The civil authorities must punish the obvious darkness of public vices and the offensive ways of people, while we preachers in the church must bring to light the subtle darkness of false teachers and false belief. We must confront those who teach and think that they are righteous because of what they do. If the church and government stopped admonishing people, the whole world would collapse in a heap. If you want to be saved and be a Christian, then stay open to correction. Preachers have to rebuke, or they should leave their position. The Christian who won’t accept correction is only pretending to be a Christian.”
This problem with correction starts at the earliest of ages. All of us have told our children, “Don’t touch that , it is hot.” Inevitably the child touches whatever, the tears begin to flow, and the lesson is learned the hard way. Sometimes, regretfully, Christians are not as “quick” as children. They “touch” the forbidden object, the ramifications of sin hit them in the head, and instead of repentance many times the heart just gets hard. Then comes the clincher, instead of repentance, hostility toward the leader. “You Christians are all the same, all you ever do is judge people.” If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times. The blame will fall on the minister who is just trying to do his job, like Paul said, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching.”
At the end of the day it is better to humble ourselves, become like a child, and receive correction from the Lord. Our lives will be safer and your pastor’s job will be a whole lot easier.