English was my mother’s second language, and she had a good command of it except for one word: she pronounced “crazy” as if it began with a g—“grazy.”
As a teenager, that drove me grazy-crazy, and finally one day I told her that.
“What?!” she exclaimed. “I’ve been saying it wrong all these years, and NO ONE TOLD ME?”
“I didn’t want to hurt your feelings,” I said meekly.
“But I sounded like a fool in the meantime and looked like an idiot. You should have told me sooner!”
I’ve thought of her anger and humiliation (she was studying Shakespeare at the time, just for fun, and usually beat me in Scrabble) and realized that I didn’t do her any favors by not correcting her errors.
I’ve seen a spate of postings and blogs lately about “loving” people and not correcting them when they stumble, because that’s “judging.”
But what about correction?
When a child writes the letters in their name backwards, or a teen driver crosses the double yellow line, or they punch in 10 minutes instead of 1 minute on the microwave, we CORRECT them: show them the mistake and help them fix it. That’s not judging or condemnation or shaming. That’s HELPING them get things right.
If ever I’m on the wrong track with something—an idea, a philosophy, a belief—please, TELL ME!
Don’t let me wander off some literal or proverbial cliff because you’re worried about “offending me.” Maybe you’re wrong, maybe I’m wrong, but let’s get it figured out.
People are quick to pull out the “God loves me anyway” argument, in all its various forms, but conveniently forget this in Proverbs 3:
11 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:
12 For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
Here’s love in action:
Young Pere said to his grandmother, “How about, you love me enough to let me go?”
Mahrree stared at him before saying, slowly, “If I love you enough, I will allow you to do something that I believe is potentially damaging to your soul?”
“Young Pere, you were more logical when you were eight! What kind of nonsense is that? If you love me enough. I love you enough! I love you so much that I’ll refuse to let you do such a thing without a better reason, even if you throw a fit and declare you’ll never speak to me again! That’s how much I love you, you ridiculous boy.” (Book 6, Flight of the Wounded Falcon)
Friends and family, love me enough to tell me when you think I’m making a mistake. Correct me, even if you think it may offend me.
How else will I know what the right thing is to do?
Because I want to avoid this:
Mahrree was worried about whose side she was really on. The only way someone could be “surprised” would be because they were sure they were on the Creator’s side, but weren’t.
What if they were already on the wrong side and didn’t recognize it? (Book 2, Soldier at the Door)
By this same token, be warned that I will tell you if I think you’re doing the wrong thing.
You may become offended, that’s fine with me.
You may unfriend me. Again, that’s ok.
But I love you enough to tell you the hard truth, as I see it, to correct you if I worry you’re heading down the wrong lane.
I may be wrong (it’s happened quite frequently), but know that I will speak up because I don’t want you making bad choices, and I expect you to do the same for me.
I don’t want any of us to go grazy.
7 thoughts on “If I’m doing the wrong thing, TELL ME!”
I think a good friend is one that is willing to actually risk the friendship to help their friend see the truth, or at least another viewpoint, to let them know when they are doing something wrong… I was watching a show once where these people were running around in fear based on what they thought was real until they were given glasses that showed the world as it really was, not the illusions they were seeing. A good friend is like having a pair of those glasses.
Oh, I love that analogy! Perfect!
There is no better friend than one that genuinely cares about somebody enough to risk the friendship in order to help a friend – and that is what correction is – helping a friend to see more clearly, or at least from a different viewpoint. I was watching a show once where these people were seeing things that were not really there and running around scared of what they thought was real until they put on these glasses that showed reality as it really was. A good friend is like having a pair of those glasses.
There is a form of judgement that involves saying something along the lines of, “Person ‘A’ has done such and such – they are a horrible, evil, loathsome person! ‘A’ must be punished and hated by everyone, and condemned for their evil!”
When I hear someone say, “You shouldn’t judge,” they are thinking of that sort of judgement – and unfortunately, we are living in a time when that sort of thing is increasingly common. I hate the way social media witch hunts keep happening, when someone does or say something short-sighted or just plain stupid and the whole world falls down on their head. It’s wrong to do that, and harmful to everyone when it happens.
The sort of thing you talk about here – correction and guidance – seems to have been forgotten in modern culture. Even simple disagreement seems to be an idea that has been lost. There’s no acknowledgement of the ability to have a different perspective, and that disagreeing doesn’t equal condemning. Which, I think, says nothing good about the loudest voices in the “don’t judge” crowd who think disagreement = condemnation, but does say a lot about the way they think.
Very well put! We’ve lost that middle ground where so much can be accomplished and instead rush to one extreme or another.
Promise me you’ll correct me should I begin swinging wildly.
Dear Mrs. Mercer, Thank you for writing these books. God has truly found another creative way to reach out to people. I am home learning to deal with being in, “Stage 3 End Phase”, as the doctors like to say these days. I’m only 58, but have lived an amazing life, so far. My wife and I are not about to give up to western medicine. We have found a lot of folks who have outlived this disease (Congestive Heart Failure) and follow their stories of courage. I especially enjoy reading about the Shins and marvel at the humor and courage they meet their world with. I Love your blog/rants, they remind me that we are all human, fallible and loveable. Looking forward to the sale of my home and having a few dollars to spend. Then I can get my own “Edge” clock.
For now I get to be a house husband, which reminds me it’s time to make dinner. “I really am a good cook, though I do make a bit of a mess.” Cheers
PS-What do you call a Bear with no teeth? (A Gummie Bear!)
Thank you so much for writing! I’m so sorry about your illness. I’m sure you’ve been given all kinds of suggestions, but here’s mine–have you tried going whole foods plant based, eliminating all dairy and meat? I’ve read of some miraculous successes with that, and I’ve gone mostly vegetarian in the past year (struggling to give up dairy, though–tough one).
Good luck to you, and I’ll pray for you to receive as many miracles as you can handle.