One of the most important principles God has taught me is how to sharpen/correct/give feedback. I do not love correcting, in fact, I would go as far as saying, “If you love to correct- please do not”! Here is a challenging verse:
Galatians 6:1-3 (NLT)
So as we begin this discussion please understand I am NOT suggesting we all grab truth and use it as a hammer. There are enough people in this world beating people up with the truth. Actually, I believe truth and or correction should be seen as a ladder and not a hammer. I have been hammered by truth along the way and so have most of you. The problem is the “hammer approach” leaves people wounded because of the delivery system. I do believe the truth can and will often hurt- but the delivery method suggested in Galatians 6 is gentleness and humility. How about a quick story:
My son was in the 10th grade and aspired to be a great basketball player. I played in college and also coached High School Basketball and I was enjoying helping him learn and understand the game. One day we were playing basketball with some men from our church. Hal (my son) was on the other team and I was guarding him. This seemed to be great because I could give him feedback in real time. I would encourage him to square up before he shot, step with the correct foot when he would take me to the basket and I thought all was going well. We took a water break and Dan pulled me aside and said- “Hal, can I give you a little feedback”. I said, “Sure”. Dan was and is a good friend who had earned the right to speak into my life. He said something like this, “Hal I know you are trying to help your son- but frankly I think you are hurting more than helping. He is on my team and I am watching his demeanor. Every time you correct him he seems to drop off in his attitude and enjoyment of the game.” Then Dan suggested, “Let him enjoy playing right now and give him the feedback 1 on 1, later”. As I thought about it, Dan was right. My “coaching” was diminishing my son and I needed to back down. I followed Dan’s advice. Everyone enjoyed the game more. Then this idea hit me- it doesn’t matter what my intentions are- if the outcome is destructive I must try a new delivery system.
Okay, now it is you turn- who has given you helpful feedback (a ladder) and because they delivered it correctly it did not feel like a hammer?