Well its hump day can you believe that we are halfway through the week? Wow. Well believe it or not, The Gateway Arch found in St Louis, Mo. is the tallest man made monument in the USA. Our family toured the Arch a few years ago, and I can vouch for the fact that it is monstrous. It stands by the Mississippi River and is 630 feet tall, being composed of stainles steel. For the time that it was built it was an amazing feete, you can ride in a car that ascends the arch and then walk out in the indoor deck and look out over the downtown area of the city, as well as, the baseball stadium below. It is quite a site to observe. I was working with Child Evangelism in the inner city clubs, for the summer in St. Louis, mainly holding 5 day clubs in the community housing areas of its downtown while the Arch was being built.
Prov. 28:23 "In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery."
Throughout the book of Proverbs, correction, and criticism was spoken in greater value than baseless flattery. Prov. 27:5 says it this way; "An open rebuke is better than hidden love."
Throughout Proverbs rebuke or criticism were recognized as a valuable form of teaching, and those ones who listened and responded positively were wise/prudent. (9:8; 15:5; 17:10 to name a few places)
Prov. 10:17 recognized correction as a life giving tool
"People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will
Prov. 15:10 warned that ignoring correction leads to loss or even death
"Whoever abandons the right path will be very disciplined; whoever hates correction will die."
Prov. 13:18 to ignore criticism will result in poverty or disgrace
"If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace, if you accept correction, you will
Prov. 3:12 to risk being rejected due to critical instruction is an evidence of real love
"For the Lord corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights."
Now lets stop and mull over this instruction. Which form of communication leads to our ultimate success?
Is it baseless flattery (complimentary words which are meaningless) or helpful instruction on ways to accomplish more.
In my time playing baseball and observing it, (I refereed for 7 years in little league & pony league). I noticed the best coaches were men who observed his players, found each players best position for making a strong team & most successful player.
Then he critically observed each player and offered tips to inhance each players skills. Batting skills, as well as, fielding, and then played each team member to defend & bat to the weakness of the opposing team.
For Instance the good coach would intentially play left handed batters against pitchers who always curved to the outside, because the left handed batter had the advantage to hit the ball further on him. etc.
In other words he applied a critical eye to his opposition, as well as, his team players. The best coaches were those who focused totally on each player on both sides, while his asst. coach lead in the basic operation, batting line up, field movement, etc.
Also to our lesson he spent most of his time while observing the opposing team, instructing the players in what would be the best defense for each incident on the field. When you watch an NFL football game you will notice a large team support coaching staff. When they are all focused on their area and instructing the various players in their oversight that team will have the most wins.
In the same way we should all attempt to build each other up, guide our church team to observe, and practice growing in our area of ministry. Strive to always be instructing others in their role, encourage, instruct, walk through various parts of ministry and always striving to do better, to be better, to achieve more.
Flattery is temporarily enjoyable, but is weakening in the long run. It causes us to take our eyes off of the ball.
When Ben was a young man we adopted a dog that was a great friend for him, but he had one glaring fault. He was a digger, he dug just to dig, I determined to halt this conduct because if he dug under the fence then got out of the yard and ran, he might get hurt. From experience I had learned that this was not good behavior, so I spanked him when I caught him digging. I warned Ben of the danger, not just big holes in the yard but the risk of him getting out, and getting hit by a car.
All of our efforts failed, we poured cement edging under the fence, spanked the dog, etc. etc. etc. Unfortunately after several years the dog got out and we got that call. He had been hit and killed did we want to come & get him? Ben of course wanted to go get him so we did, it was a hard many months, of loss, for Ben & his dog were inseparable. We talked about him and why this happened, etc. One of the benefits of that tragic experience was our many conversations about this very topic.
The importance of allowing others to offer corrective instruction, the same is true in our lives and others who we have oversight of. Today our worldly system along with the devil is striving to take away this important role of adults & parents. Issuing warning, instruction, and even rebuke is an important part of our role in striving to bring others to maturity, integrity & righteous living.
So Go With God and seek His various forms of warnings. If we seek His face then He will guide us in this most sensitive role. He will help us to be engaged in wise guidance, if we only ask Him for help. Loving words of correction are always more powerful than knowing silence that remains unspoken. We sometimes have words of warning that we fearfully hold back, and later recognize the harm that our silence allowed, on those we love. So don't fall to the temptation of silence, or ignoring future pain, rather go to the Father and ask Him for wisdom & clarity in just how to give instructive, caring words to others, who look to us for words of instruction.