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March 15, 2021

Lenten Gestures - Correcting

Correction is an odd thing. When correction is given or received poorly it can be a source of shame and fear. But, when given or received well, correction can be an agent of growth in our lives

Matthew 25:27

"Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest."

Correction is an odd thing. When correction is given or received poorly it can be a source of shame and fear. But, when given or received well, correction can be an agent of growth in our lives. Of course, we can’t control how someone else gives or receives correction. It’s a lot just to try to manage our own words and emotions in such moments.

So what does meaningful correction actually look like? How do we fruitfully steer a young child who’s learning to spell or a family member who’s said something racist at Christmas? How do we accept feedback from our boss about a recent project that didn't go well, or from a partner that’s frustrated about how we’re loading the dishwasher?

Without trying to be over simplistic—I think how we move through these types of moments has a lot to do with dignity. Dignity for each other and dignity for ourselves. For, if we really do believe that the same God who filled the ocean with water and the sky with stars made us, then we’re compelled to admire and honor every human as bearing the stamp of God’s image.

So, in correcting—we can aim to give and receive it with dignity. Sometimes dignity comes out looking a lot like clarity and kindness. Other times it looks more like empathy and patience. Still, other times dignity looks like self-advocacy and firmness. Consider the last time you gave correction. Did you do so with dignity? Now consider the last time you received correction. Did you do so with dignity? How might dignity frame correction for you in the future?

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Performance: September Penn | "Posture of Correction: That's a Shame" | performance on video

Practice: Give and Receive Feedback

While it is important to learn how to receive correction, it is equally important to know how to offer correction to someone when needed. Watch LeeAnn Renninger's Ted Talk to learn "The Secret to Giving Great Feedback".

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