SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
“Walk before Me and be thou perfect” (Genesis 17:1, KJV) requires, in part, being able to accept the tests of critiques, chastisements, and course corrections to perfect our work, in service to God.
The issue is that many of us have wonky ideas about being perfect and express negative reactions in accepting critiques on how we can be and do better.
The value of perfecting work through critique and chastening came together for me in a different way during a recent writer’s critique group.
The process of evaluation is that each brings some piece they are working on— an article, a book chapter, or an essay— and reads it for review and improvement.
In this recent gathering, an author read a new chapter of her book.
We all appreciated the excellent quality of her work and especially this particular chapter. She has a talent for developing characters, building tension, and creating unique descriptions in a simple and relatable way.
Her piece had very good value and we were inspired to contribute to making it the best it could be.
Suggestions for improvement were enthusiastically given by us. She welcomed them equally enthusiastically and gratefully without defensiveness or rationalization.
Ironically, a few days before our group’s meeting, this scripture piece came to my attention.
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” –Hebrews 12: 6-7
According to Vocabulary.Com, the Latin root of chastise is castigare, which means “to set or keep right,” or “to make pure.” Definitions of chastisement: a rebuke for making a mistake. synonyms: chastening, correction.
Many people’s experiences testify to significant differences between a critique and a chastisement in the degree of severity.
God reminds us that a loving father does what he can in small and large ways to help us become what we can be as we put forth the effort and endure—continue growing.
He desires us to stay on track—even when a correction might sting, and smart our precious little egos in the process.
We hear people refer to one of these chastening experiences with something like, “I sure didn’t like it then, but now I am so glad it happened. Thank God, it was a lesson I needed to learn even though I resisted it and it was hard at the time.”
God is our father who wants us to walk in the right direction – His way.
We get many opportunities to learn the lessons we need and our learning comes through many people, critiques, and chastenings.
We do ourselves a favor when we listen to the small nudges and accept the lessons before life becomes harder.
The writer’s group meeting took place in a simple setting and had to do with everyday life matters.
How critiques are offered for perfecting work might, however, help some to see critiques less personally and defensively.
Improvement suggestions are offered with the intent to shape the work so it shines with the best possible light.
Similarly, God holds the vision in light. He shines light on what we are, sons and daughters of God, growing more and more perfect in his image and likeness.
As a loving Father, he tests, challenges, and chastens us as we seek to be perfect in our life’s work, our service, in the sight and light of the Lord.
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” –Hebrews 12: 6-7, KJV.