Kindly Correction

I love this verse so much. What if the people who speak to you honestly actually help you the most? Even better, a true friend loves you best by speaking the truth. What do you think about that?

One of the things I appreciate most in life is an honest conversation. Unfortunately, these are rare in today’s world. Rare things only increase in value, so there’s the silver lining, I guess.

Truth speakers help me grow in Christ, in love, in wisdom and in humility.

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Taking a stroll down memory lane this morning. I’ve had many supervisors in my life. Many of these leaders had my best interest at heart, and some clearly did not. Yet, I learned valuable life lessons from each one.

One woman stands out particularly as I think back. She heard me (on the job) bragging to coworkers about my exceptional spelling skills.

{By the way, this was 1986 and well before spell check technology. We had no laptops or smartphones. Dictionaries, in hard copy, were part of our workplace resources. And our work was documented in pencil on paper. The large eraser was also our ever present help.}

Perhaps my supervisor had not heard the entire conversation. Several of us 20-somethings were enthusiastically discussing our strengths, but mostly weaknesses regarding the written English language.

Apparently, our supervisor agreed with my self-assessment regarding my lack of grammatical expertise, and so, she let that go. However, she did not hold back as I touted my spelling skills.

From the far end of the conference table her voice arose. I froze hearing my name like a child unaware of a parent’s listening ears. Charlotte corrected me in front of all my colleagues. She listed 2 or 3 words for which I was habitually guilty of misspelling.

My coworkers chuckled. My cheeks became hot and I am sure my entire face was as red as ripe cherry tomatoes. I was dumbfounded. And I was truly frustrated with my supervisor, but not for the reason you might be thinking.

When I was able to speak without tears choking my throat and stinging my eyes, I addressed Charlotte, “Why haven’t you told me this before now?” I sincerely wanted to know why she would know for a fact I was doing something consistently wrong, but had not enough care for me to correct me. Now she, Charlotte, sat dumbfounded.

I asked her to circle the misspellings on my workpapers. Once she returned the papers containing her red marks circling my errors, I grabbed my dictionary to find the correct spelling for each misspelled word. She was correct, and now I had the opportunity to make my own correction. I re-wrote my workpapers ( yes, pencil and paper) and submitted them back to Charlotte.

Since we were working out of town, Charlotte asked if I could visit in her hotel room after dinner. I went and we had a longer than expected conversation about the events of the day. Charlotte was still intrigued by my desire for truth and correction. Perhaps, she had counted on me being offended rather than grateful.

I explained to Charlotte that I had lived deceived regarding truth for the most of my life. However, in those 20-something years, I met a young man who was willing to be a true friend by telling me that my life was on the wrong path. He honestly and painfully addressed some of the reasons for my obvious sadness and frustrations with life. He was willing to challenge me to read the Bible.

Before I left, I thanked Charlotte for speaking up, and I asked her to address anything she saw in me that might need correction. I hoped she would do it from a sincere heart. And I challenged Charlotte to read the Bible for herself.

I’m not sure I ever worked under Charlotte’s supervision after that week. Honestly, I don’t know what ever became of Charlotte. However, I promise you, every time I begin to spell those certain words I think of Charlotte with a smile, and gratitude.

Thank You, Jesus, for the many people You allow to intersect my life’s path. Help me today to be a friend seeking truth, and sharing truth in love. I thank You, Jesus, for Charlotte, and pray she is now adopted into Your heavenly family. I thank You for every Charlotte I am yet to meet. Continue to grow me up in wisdom, truth, grace and humility for Your glory, and to exalt Your name in my corner of the world.

Eyes in Jesus and Shine,

~Lisa


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