Taking Corrections Well

Objective Truth Series – reflections article #7

In the last reflection, we considered having a deeper mistrust of ourselves and practicing a real compassion on our neighbor.  On the one hand, it is a noble and commendable thing to want to instruct one’s neighbor. {Of course, the instruction must be done with charity and compassion, with one taking precautions that one doesn’t take any credit for the work, lest he become self-complacent.}

Yet, on the other hand, because we all are in need of amendment, one must consider well how he takes instruction, particularly corrections, from his neighbor.  We must always be open to the advice, the admonishments, and even criticism from others.  One could ask himself the question, “Why?” Then an answer could be, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” St. John’s first epistle, ch. 1:8.

Then further considering the Words of Our Lord, “For this was I born, and for this I came into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth.  Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.” [St. John,18:37], we certainly would want to be open to the truth about ourselves.  And since we are usually the worst judges of our own case, it seems reasonable to listen to what others have to say about us.

Certainly, we would not want to scoff at truth as Pilate did by saying, “What is truth?”  St. John’s Gospel, 18:38.

Even if we thought rightly that our neighbor was wrong in his assessment of us, we would do well to consider that our neighbor may have hit the nail on the head in some respect.  In other words, our neighbor’s view of us could have some seed of truth in it; otherwise, the neighbor wouldn’t have noticed the thing he has mentioned to us.  (And he might be legitimately pointing out problems we have).  And because we must never try to judge the interior of another, we would do well to think our neighbor found some real flaw in us.  For example, perhaps we come across to our neighbor as being haughty in some way.

It is in the nature of man to react to stimulation whether from people or things.  Thus, it is part of the natural interaction between humans to notice things about one another.

Unfortunately, because we have fallen human nature, we often bristle when having our faults pointed out to us.  This is certainly a finger of pride creeping over us.  Often, in addition to giving in to irritation, we give in to feeling sorry for ourselves – which is really a form of discouragement.  If we look deeper here, we can readily see that discouragement is a form of pride. Why?  It is because of the disappointment in ourselves in the fact that we are not already perfect. What is the solution to learning to take corrections well? 

The happy solution is to think that since God has allowed the correction/warning/advice to happen, this incident must be God’s Will for us.  With this in mind, it is certainly easier to take the correction. In addition, one could really ponder God’s Providence deeper, by thinking about God sculpturing our souls. Then, we can find a great consolation that God deemed fit to communicate our correction using our neighbor as His Instrument.

Indeed, God uses His Creatures to do His Work.  Doesn’t Our Lord tell us to see Him in our neighbor?  We can think of the parable of the Good Samaritan, or what Our Lord tells us that He, Himself will say at the last judgment, “…Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to Me.”  St. Matthew’s Gospel, 25:40.

Oh, how wonderful God is to correct us so lovingly.  God does not cudgel us and we shouldn’t feel cudgeled when someone points out our failings to us.  We should see that our neighbor is trying to help us for the sake of love.  We should be grateful, thank God, and lovingly tell our neighbor “thank you”.  Then, begging God for His help, we should make every effort to amend.  Our soul would then count the correction as a great blessing from the Dear Lord and perhaps our gratitude would be expressed as follows:

“Sanctify them in Truth,” Thou hast said,

And our search for Truth, is our bread, 

“Thy Word is Truth,” Thou also spoke,

Thy burden light, as well, Thy yoke.


To know Truth, Thou dost me invite,

For with Thy Truth, I can delight,

An invitation, to know more,

Through inspiration, I can soar.


When a new truth, is shown to me,

Then I’m thrown, into reverie,

Why should I squawk, if someone see,

The flaw or defect, of my evil tree?


My fruits can be seen, that is clear,

By my neighbors, those near and dear,

Gratitude in my heart, should swell,

It is good to know myself well.


 Compare my darkness, to His Light,

 Get a clearer view, in my sight,

To see His Work, He makes me free,

 God carves off, the roughness in me.


Not so painful, His chisel chips,

And praise of Him, should be on my lips,

O Sculptor Divine, tell me all,

My weakness, ‘cause, through pride I fall.


Oh, dear Truth, Why should I Thee fear?

Why am I a coward, Thee to hear?

 Please plant in me, Thy fruitful seeds,

Thou knowest all, of my poor needs.


Thou willst for me, myself to know,

So that my love, for Thee can grow,

Correct me oft’, I now implore,

Thy Voice, from neighbors, I’ll adore.