A Culture of Constructive Criticism
A part of the culture Pastor David has installed at Cross Points Church is an air of openness. Specifically, he encourages us to constructively question and critique each other’s thoughts and performances – beginning with him. You’ll often hear the phrase, “Let me push back…”
It flows both ways. Several months into being on staff, Pastor David mentioned a bad habit in my preaching/public speaking. He shared with me my penchant for not make eye-contact with my audience as I spoke. For some reason I was looking down when I spoke.
What? How can that be? Didn’t he know I was awesome?
Let me share a secret with you. It doesn’t matter what culture you’re in, but correction always hurts.
Discipline stings, but it is so necessary.
Our theme this week is GROW Young. Jesus challenged his disciples to be like children (Mark 10:13-16). He told them, it’s the way to enter into God’s Kingdom. Sunday, I shared 3 ways to GROW Young (Be Carefree, Belong, Be Joyful), but I overlooked what easily could be the fourth.
Hebrews 12:4-11 (The Message)
In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?
My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.
3 Types of Discipline
God disciplines us so we can be disciples. God disciplines us because we are His children. It stings, but it is so necessary.
Why is it necessary? The purpose of discipline is change.
Here are 3 ways to recognize God’s discipline in your life.
- Cause and Effect
A more biblical term might be reaping and sowing. We get what we deserve, but usually it’s delayed (think overspending and debt). If you are struggling due to decisions made in your past, realize it’s God training you to make wise decisions now and in the future.
- Internal Discomfort
Sin makes our spirits uncomfortable. Sinlessness leaves us with peace. It’s God’s way of showing you to change. The next time you are unexplainably angry, irritated, frustrated, depressed or lack self-confidence, inspect your spirit. Is there sin not dealt with in your life? God may be disciplining you.
- External Motivation
Sometimes we need to hear truth from an outside source. In my case, I needed correction in my public speaking, and I couldn’t see it without someone showing me. This may come from a boss, parent, spouse or friend. I guarantee this will hurt, but don’t ignore them! Obedience pays handsomely.
Sometimes God uses all three ways to discipline us. He is committed to us, and He will go the extra mile to get our attention. Are you listening? Remember, the point of discipline isn’t pain…it’s change in behavior.
Be child-like in your faith. Accept your discipline. Learn. Return to the Father. And change.