Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Proverbs 15:31
For more than fifty years, my dad strove for excellence in his editing. His passion wasn’t to just look for mistakes but also to make the copy better in terms of clarity, logic, flow, and grammar. Dad used a green pen for his corrections, rather than a red one. A green pen he felt was “friendlier,” while slashes of red might be jarring to a novice or less confident writer. His objective was to gently point out a better way.
When Jesus corrected people, He did so in love. In some circumstances—such as when He was confronted with the hypocrisy of the Pharisees (Matthew 23)—He rebuked them harshly, yet still for their benefit. But in the case of his friend Martha, a gentle correction was all that was needed (Luke 10:38–42). While the Pharisees responded poorly to His rebuke, Martha remained one of His dearest friends (John 11:5).
Correction can be uncomfortable and few of us like it. Sometimes, because of our pride, it’s hard to receive it graciously. The book of Proverbs talks much about wisdom and indicates that “heeding correction” is a sign of wisdom and understanding (15:31–32).
God’s loving correction helps us to adjust our direction and to follow Him more closely. Those who refuse it are sternly warned (v. 10), but those who respond to it through the power of the Holy Spirit will gain wisdom and understanding (vv. 31–32).
How do you usually respond to loving correction from your heavenly Father? What correction have you received from someone that’s made a significant difference in your life?
Father, help me learn to graciously accept Your loving correction so I can grow in wisdom and understanding.
There are at least two ways of reading Jesus’ correction of Martha in Luke 10:38–42. One is to hear Him gently telling her to put first things first: to join Mary and sit with the other disciples at His feet, listening to His teaching. There would be time later to prepare something to eat.
The other possibility is to hear the Teacher lovingly addressing what was happening in Martha’s heart. Yes, she was upset with Mary, but she also seems to be questioning Jesus’ concern for her. Didn’t He care that she had to do all the work by herself? Perhaps Jesus wants Martha to see that if she’d been attending to the details of her hospitality with the kind of heart she’d seen in Him—serving her guests out of love for Him and the others—then she, like Mary, would have been expressing a devotion and trust that would never be taken from her.