A few years ago, I yelled at someone on the phone and really let them have it because they had totally mishandled a medical bill.
That was not the first time I yelled like that, but it was the last time I yelled.
Why the change? I learned that a couple of key questions lurked behind my yelling.
First: how do I behave in a confrontation when no one knows I am a Christian?
In other words, I must admit that if it were someone from my church who messed up the bill I would never have yelled at them.
Second is an even deeper question I faced:
Is my Christianity only a performance? Or is it a deep heartfelt conviction that wells from the inside out, and drives how I react to situations—-even when the person I am confronting really is wrong and no one else is watching how I am handling it?
Basically, the kind of crummy attitudes behind my yelling needed correction and change. My natural inclination, though, is to not welcome correction.
Look at this verse in Proverbs :
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. (19:20)
I need to give a note of caution in quoting this or any Bible verse. Because if someone overheard me yelling and simply quoted this verse to me, nothing would have changed. This way of firing a verse at someone can backfire. Oh, someone might use it to shame and guilt me into not yelling for a while, but that does not lead to genuine repentance and heart change.
It’s vitally important to consider the real source of wisdom behind the book of Proverbs. This true wisdom is personified in Jesus Christ. And thanks be to God we have union with Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Only by calling on God’s grace and being in union with Christ can we begin to override our unwillingness to accept correction. And of course, it is a process. We don’t suddenly and instantly welcome correction in every area of our lives. But with the help of the Spirit and people we can trust, we do start to develop a teachable and correctable heart.