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There is a very dangerous movement that is quickly emerging throughout many different regions, denominations, fellowships and networks. What is this movement? It's the idea that correction from spiritual leaders and/or others is an immediate sign of rejection toward a call or identity in the kingdom. Many individuals are consciously making this assumption at the exact moment that they are corrected for an action they took, or a particular decision they made and/or a series of statements that have been made. How is it that we have arrived at this pivotal moment in time where we are unable to receive proper correction in order to become better? Instead, we have many who are immediately taking offense and allowing rejection to become their identity to progress forward.
It's Not Always Wrong
I recognize that some of you who are reading this are immediately thinking of all the corrupt, manipulative and dominating leaders who have spiritually abused others. I am in no way implying that someone should ever sit under the authority of someone who is spiritually abusive. However, when we are talking about correction, we must be willing to recognize that it's not always wrong. At what point do we stop blaming everyone and everything on previous relationships? You will never grow beyond where you have been by valuing a current relationship from a past identity. You are automatically setting yourself up for rejection when you decide your current spiritual leaders are an exact copy of those who were before (and did you wrong).
Many are entering relationships like those who were once married but are divorced. If you have gone through a divorce and are looking to remarry, you cannot enter a relationship with someone with the assumption that your future marriage is going to end in divorce simply because you went through a divorce. You cannot make the assumption that your new spouse will fail you as your previous spouse did. If you do, you are setting yourself up for rejection before you even establish a relationship. Today, we have a serious problem, as we are quick to break off covenant relationships at the moment someone corrects us. It leaves me wondering when it became the norm to walk away from relationships at the first moment of correction. I am not talking about individuals who walk away after months and months of conversations and determining that no agreement could be made. I am addressing those who are corrected for the first time, and as a result, they immediately take a great offense, which enables them with the mentality to walk away.
Listen Well, Be Willing to Learn
Listen well to wise counsel and be willing to learn from correction so that by the end of your life you'll be known for your wisdom. A person may have many ideas concerning God's plan for his life, but only the designs of his purpose will succeed in the end. A man is charming when he displays tender mercies to others. And a lover of God who is poor and promises nothing is better than a rich liar who never keeps his promises. When you live a life of abandoned love, surrendered before the awe of God, here's what you'll experience: Abundant life. Continual protection. And complete satisfaction! There are some people who pretend they're hurt—deadbeats who won't even work to feed themselves. If you punish the insolent who don't know any better, they will learn not to mock. But if you correct a wise man, he will grow even wiser. Children who mistreat their parents are an embarrassment to their family and a public disgrace. So listen, my child. Don't reject correction or you will certainly wander from the ways of truth. A corrupt witness makes a mockery of justice, for the wicked never play by the rules. Judgment is waiting for those who mock the truth, and foolish living invites a beating (Prov. 19:20-29, TPT).
I love how The Passion Translation explains these verses with a simple, yet profound understanding of how correction is to be received. When reading these verses, we can easily see how it is wrong for us to deny correction only to set ourselves up to fail. Did you understand whom correction is for? You. Me. Everyone.
Correction isn't about rejecting me, you or anyone in particular. Correction is about growing in wisdom and in truth. In the midst of these words that are dealing with our ability to receive correction is a very powerful declaration: "When you live a life of abandoned love, surrendered before the awe of God, here's what you'll experience: Abundant life. Continual protection. And complete satisfaction!"
"A life of abandoned love." Wow, what a statement. Imagine if this is truly the life we pursued rather than the life we simply talk about. So many times, we talk about loving one another, and yet how quickly we abandon that love because we disagreed with the moment of correction. We stopped walking in love for those with whom we declared we were running because we quickly believed that when they corrected us, they actually rejected us.
A Dangerous Crossroads
We are at a very dangerous crossroads in time. We have so much language on grace and love, but rarely do we see the fullness of these words in definition. We abuse the language of grace to become whatever we want it to be. And we define love to be what we need it to be in the moment, but seldom defined by the Father's nature Throughout Scripture, we see how the Father dealt with sin, and we continue to see that when Jesus was on the Earth (in the flesh), He forgave, but also declared "Sin no more." Today, we express Jesus' forgiveness for sin, but rarely call others into the reality of "sin no more" (No, I am not implying that you will never sin again.) We keep giving people a hall pass to continue however they choose, and in so doing, label it "grace."
Throughout all the sloppy grace, we then declare the love of the Father, and yet we rarely demonstrate that love. When leaders take the time to correct our errors, our mistakes, our bad decisions, we quickly declare that those leaders are wrong and trying to stop us from being what we should be. We get hurt, we get mad, we get angry and we get offended. We talk about love, but how quickly we abandon those for whom we declared love once they correct us. We are not talking about abuse, but correction.
Again, so many will start talking about the abuse they had from leaders in the past. Trust me, I get that. Regardless of the previous leaders you served under, how can every leader be wrong? The truth is, they can't. If you're exchanging leaders every year as if you were rewriting your New Year's resolution, maybe the leader isn't the problem. Maybe the problem could be the root of our issue towards correction. Maybe the problem is us. We have a serious problem when we are always finding ourselves running away from others. We have a serious problem when we are quick to run in the midst of proper correction and then immediately discover others who come to us who are running as well. We find ourselves separating from others, only to find ourselves aligning with those who are familiar to us.
Time and time again I can give you example after example of people who declared they didn't need to be aligned under any authority. And yet they soon aligned with those who were hurt, offended and dealing with rejection. We have all heard it before: "hurt people hurt people." The hurt, offended and rejected have a way to find one another. Due to this nature, we (the ekklesia) are dealing with a very serious problem. We have to learn how to receive correction for what it is supposed to be. We cannot continue the cycle of taking on offense because a leader took the time to correct us.
Are there abusive leaders? Of course. However, there are plenty of leaders who walk with integrity and honor. We cannot afford to encourage this mentality to keep growing. The correction we receive is to make us better, not make us worse than before. We have to learn that correction is not always rejection. If we don't, the next time we have to correct those we love, we will inadvertently position them to run away instead of into the arms of the Father. When we deny the need for correction, we end up raising sons and daughters to become prodigals, wishing the Father dead so they can go and do whatever they want rather than being a son child of the Father's until the moment comes for proper promotion.
Let us become better. Let us receive better. Let us love better. Let us exemplify grace better. Let us "live a life of abandoned love, surrendered before the awe of God, here's what you'll experience: Abundant life. Continual protection. And complete satisfaction!"
Ryan Johnson is mantled in equipping the body of Christ to awaken the nations with a prophetic call of a rising ekklesia. As a revivalist and apostolic minister, Ryan ministers with a prophetic voice of revival and awakening, with the demonstration of God's purposes in regions, individuals and the church.
This article originally appeared at ryanjohnson.us.
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