Scripture: Proverbs 4: 11-12
As a teenager, one of my pet peeves was one of the Pastors in my church. She was a pet peeve, not because she was a bad person. Quite the contrary. She was a phenomenal woman, and very well loved. But for me, a close friend of mine and I’m certain many other teenagers today, she was and still is their nightmare. Why?
Attending church service was always one of the greatest joys of my life…until she set her sights on us. It became our habit to literally look left, right and all-around several times before running from the church’s auditorium to the grotto for a snack after service just to avoid being seen by her.
Sometimes, it worked, but most times, it didn’t. Just when we thought we had escaped and got caught up in a conversation, a painful sensation and a smack across both our backs in quick succession would automatically make us cringe in pain and straighten up. We didn’t even need to hear her voice and the following words to know what we should do, or what we should have done-STAND UP STRAIGHT!
Although we didn’t like the idea, it was helpful: I mean she never ‘attacked’ us in private. No! It always had to be in public, in the midst of the after-service crowd, even in the presence of my mom! I remember how self-conscious and humiliated that used to make us feel. But more than that, I remember also how lying on my bed every night, I would unconsciously/subconsciously straighten my spine, following the advice and counsel garnered from people around.
Several years have passed but still, I find myself straightening my spine from time to time, during the course of the day. I may never have an opportunity to thank her for helping me correct my posture and for giving my spine oh such sweet relief but my back blesses her all the time.
God allows and takes us, if we are willing, through situations, using people whose approach we may not necessarily approve, to correct and straighten, and build up, and challenge us in diverse areas of our lives. Sometimes, these people are people we are familiar with, other times, He uses strangers, but most times, He uses authorities who exercise great influence over us, whether spiritual or natural.
Sometimes we both agree enough to blend with what they say, but at other times, for several reasons, it may seem very difficult to agree with and submit to them. It could also be a lot of discomfort to listen to them, especially when what they have to say challenges us to take necessary actions about intimate aspects of our lives, which we would rather not.
At times like these, it is important to remember that it is God that establishes every authority and our focus should not be on the person through whom God speaks, but the beautiful fact that He loves us enough to speak to us.
Proverbs 4:11-12 encourages us ‘not to despise the chastening of the Lord, or become weary of His correction, for it is whom the Father loves that He is corrects; even as a Father, the son in whom He delights’.
I may not always like the approach of my authorities when they correct me, but I trust God to help me make a conscious effort to believe that even though what they say, may leave a really bitter taste in my mouth, it is for my good.
I trust God, to guide my actions and my responses in such scenarios and the same I pray for you today: that you are able to separate the person through whom the instruction/ correction from the truth in it and apply it for your own growth.