March 22, 2021

Old Childishness

 Devotion for the Week...

Whatever your views of President Trump were, there was no denying that he didn't like when people spoke negatively about him. He came to mind, and I actually laughed out loud, recently when I read 1 Kings 22 and 'heard' how King Ahab responded to someone who spoke negatively about him. Let's set the scene: King Ahab (king of Israel) asked King Jehosaphat (king of Judah) to go to battle with him to recover the town of Ramoth-gilead from the king of Aram. Ahab didn't follow God at all, but Jehosaphat did. So Jehosaphat said he would go to war with Ahab, but "then Jehoshaphat added, "But first let’s find out what the Lord says'" (v. 5). Ahab summoned all of his 'prophets,' who were very good at telling the king exactly what he wanted to hear, and they told him "Yes, go right ahead! The Lord will give the king victory" (v. 6). 

Jehosaphat, of course, knew Ahab's reputation and that of his prophets, so he asked, "Is there not also a prophet of the Lord here? We should ask him the same question" (v. 7).

Ahab replied, "There is one more man who could consult the Lord for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me!" (v. 8). That was where I laughed out loud. Can't you just see Ahab scrunching up his face in distaste and shaking his head? He had no interest in what this man, Micaiah, had to say because he never had anything good to say about Ahab. Never mind that Micaiah was only speaking the truth from God - the fact that it didn't make Ahab feel good about himself was the only thing that mattered. Man, that childishness is OLD!

None of us like it when people speak negatively about us. We can write them off completely, as Ahab did, declaring they are horrible people and never even considering any truth there might be in their words. Or we can pause for a moment to see if we could learn something from what has been said. Sometimes there's nothing to be gained from the negative feedback and we can then cross that person off the list of people we listen to. But sometimes there will be nuggets of truth in the negative feedback. 

No, it's not easy to listen to people talking negatively about us. No, we don't want to do it. It would be much easier to simply insist they're terrible people and we should ignore them. While that might be easier or more comfortable, it's not very helpful. 

If I'm being honest with myself, I know that I'm not always right in everything I say and do, which means that sometimes people need to correct me. I'm willing to guess you would say the same about yourself. If we just ignore the people who correct us, we'll keep repeating those same mistakes. Who knows what damage that will do to our relationships, our reputations, our finances or our health. If, instead, we choose to consider what has been said, we could grow into better people for having listened to the hard things. 
While we may hate the experience of being corrected, we can't automatically discount it |
Proverbs 12:1 says it pretty plainly: "To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction." Most of us like to think we're not stupid. While we may hate the experience of being corrected, we can't automatically discount it.

1 comment:

  1. Yes! I'm nearly 58 years old and I still get a bit of a hrumph rising in me when someone points out where I'm going wrong or need to correct my thinking on an issue! It's taken me all these years to really understand that failures, getting things wrong, is part of the process of learning - but only if I'm willing to listen and change my thinking or behaviour! The word 'humility' springs to mind!


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