Tell me I’m wrong

Some of the most important moments in my life were times when people who cared for me pulled me aside and told me I was wrong.

As kids, people told us we were wrong all the time. Teachers told us we were wrong in our math, our spelling, our grammar, our answers on science and history exams. Coaches told us we were wrong in our athletic technique. Parents told us we were wrong in our behavior. Even total strangers felt like they had the right to tell us we were wrong.

But when we became adults, all of a sudden we decided that no one should ever tell us we’re wrong. OK, that’s an exaggeration. But it’s not far from the mark. Somehow, most of us have come to the conclusion that we’re done with being corrected. We will learn by adding to what we know, not by changing what we know and do.

But as I said in the beginning, some of the most important moments of my adult life came a as a result of people stepping up and pushing through the barriers to correction that we’ve set up.

They’ve helped me stop poor behavior, mend relationships, and correct my thinking — all of which needed to be done in order to live well.

In other words, these people loved me by doing the hard thing of speaking the hard word. In some cases they were shy and in other cases they were stern when they talked with me. But in every case, they loved me and I knew that I was loved by them in what they said.

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” — Proverbs 27:6