No one likes criticism, especially when it comes from one of our leaders. Often our initial reaction is to defend ourselves and go on the offensive against the one criticizing us. Hearing a hard word is never easy, but the Apostle Paul shows us that we need to learn how to listen so that we don’t stunt our spiritual growth.
I now rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance. For you were grieved as God willed, so that you didn’t experience any loss from us.”
A Difficult Task
Paul had a contentious relationship with some of the people in the church in Corinth. This necessitated him to rebuke them for their behavior. It caused some grief amongst them, but it eventually led to them repenting of their actions and turning back to the Lord. It was a difficult task for Paul, but he knew it was necessary. He is rejoicing now, but it grieved him just as much as it grieved the people. It had to be done so that the guilty party wouldn’t experience any loss.
Leaders are criticized all the time for taking a stand and correcting people in the wrong. The mob jumps all over them and attacks them for being cruel, and excuses are made for the guilty party. Very few people realize how difficult it is for the leader to take steps of discipline. It causes great stress and often affects their health. Until you have walked a mile in their shoes, it is best to limit your criticism.
Hearing a Hard Word
Hearing a hard word from a leader is never easy. It points out your flaws, and many times its everyone gets to see it. The humiliation can be too much for some to bear, but if we want to grow in the Lord and not go backward, we need to heed the correction. It will grieve us for a short period of time, but we will grow from it and almost certainly not repeat it. Be thankful for leaders who care enough to correct you in a Godly way.