How do you feel when someone corrects you? I am grateful when someone points out that my fly is down, but when the correction is about me personally, it is a bit harder to appreciate.
Intellectually, I know how important it is to accept correction. I had an experience in my first month as a missionary where my senior companion pointed out a weakness I had. I completely disagreed with him and I didn’t learn until about a year later that I was wrong and he was right. I’m not sure if I would have recognized this flaw in my thinking if he had not first corrected me.
For the past several weeks, I have been paddleboarding once per week with a brother from my previous ward. There really wasn’t much more between us than a “How’s it going?’ in the hall at church.
Since we started paddleboarding at the crack of dawn, we have developed a great friendship, in fact, he has become one of my closest friends. I thoroughly enjoy our conversations and the things we learn from one another on the water in the quiet of the morning.
The topic of correction came up and we exchanged a few words about it over by our vehicles.
After strapping the boards to the top of my car and driving off, here are some additional thoughts that formed in my mind:
Embrace correction, make your first thought about gratitude and deny yourself of offense.
What do you love more, your own ego, or the truth?
Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.2 Nephi 9:40
Offense is the enemy of conversion.
When someone is correcting you, listen patiently to what they are saying and ask questions to understand what prompted their concern.
When people don’t care, or are too afraid to say anything, they stay silent. Honest correction often comes from a place of real concern and love.
Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;D&C 121:43
And ye have murmured because he hath been plain unto you. Ye say that he hath used sharpness; ye say that he hath been angry with you; but behold, his sharpness was the sharpness of the power of the word of God, which was in him; and that which ye call anger was the truth, according to that which is in God, which he could not restrain, manifesting boldly concerning your iniquities.2 Nephi 1:26
If someone speaks to you with the sharpness of truth and neglects to show the increase of love afterward, instead of seizing offense or harboring resent, show that increase of love yourself and complete the principle.