The way we respond when we are corrected says a lot of the condition of our hearts and our maturity in Christ. What’s your correction attitude? Do you willingly accept correction? Or, do you lash out when someone points out where you have gone wrong? 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?

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Is Your Correction Attitude a Snake?

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 he found so distasteful in his mother was one he himself often depicted. What was also interesting was that a few moments earlier she 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?

You may be wondering, why liken 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 cunning than any beast of the field which 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 it attacks.

What Snakes Are Hiding In Your Correction Attitude?

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 the real danger lies. Instead of learning and growing, a person’s attitude becomes lethal and poisonous. The 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 turn.

The Rattlesnake Correction Attitude

A rattlesnake hisses and rattles its tail before it 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 faults of any and everyone who comes to mind. They spew venom because in their minds they believe you don’t have a right to point out what they are doing wrong. If they don’t attack at the moment of correction, they slither into a corner hissing and rattling, waiting for the right moment to strike. They only need to see someone else make a tiny mistake for them to attack.

The King Cobra Correction Attitude

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 venom at everyone not caring whom they affect. In fact, their mindset is the more persons 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.

The Anaconda Correction Attitude

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 a part of your inner circle. But beware! They resent you for correcting them and will not be satisfied until you they crush and swallow you. Only your utter destruction will satisfy them.

What Does the Bible Say Our Correction Attitude Should Be?

At some time or other, 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.

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 listen 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 the darkness and walk in the light.

Bible Verses About How to Accept Correction

The Bible has a lot to say about how to accept correction. Here are just a few verses:

Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge,
But he who hates correction is stupid (Proverbs 12:1 NKJV).

If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol (Proverbs 23:14 ESV).

A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent (Proverbs 15:5 ESV).

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him (Hebrews 12:5 ESV).

Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge,
But he who hates correction is stupid (Proverbs 12:1 NKJV).

For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 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 (Hebrews 12:10-11 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, lest he 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 just man, and he will increase in learning” (Proverbs 9:7-9 NKJV).

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights (Proverbs 3:11-12 ESV).

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent (Revelation 3:19 ESV).

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7 ESV).

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned (Titus 3:10-11 ESV).

Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20 NKJV).

What type of snake can your correction attitude be compared to? I hope this post will have you thinking about the way you accept correction. But please, don’t let it stop there. If your attitude towards correction is not where it should be, please prayerfully ask God to help you learn how to accept correction. As Christians, our hope is always to grow in Christ so we can be good witnesses for Him.

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