THERE IS A TIME TO PRAISE AND A TIME TO CORRECT  

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

DECEMBER 17, 2023

TOPIC: THERE IS A TIME TO PRAISE AND A TIME TO CORRECT  

BY T. O. BANSO

“In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery” (Proverbs 28:23 New Living Translation).

Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 11:2, “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you” (New King James Version). In verse 17, he said to the same church, “Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse” (New King James Version).

Continuing his rebuke of the Corinthians, concerning their abuse of the Lord’s Supper, he said in the concluding part of 1 Corinthians 11:22, “What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you” (1 Corinthians 11:22b New King James Version).

Paul founded the Corinthian church. In this letter he wrote to them, he praised them for remembering him in everything and following the teachings he had passed to them. But he didn’t praise them for doing what was wrong: some Corinthians didn’t wait for others while taking part in the Lord’s Supper; thus, some were hungry while others were drunk. Paul told them the truth, irrespective of what they might feel. He loved them, but he wouldn’t clap for them for doing what was wrong.

Don’t flatter people. Flattery is deceit. Tell those who’re accountable to you or the people you’re mentoring, training, or leading the truth. Don’t tell them they’ve done well when they’ve not. Not even because you want to encourage them. That’s not motivation. If you say someone is OK when it’s not true, how do you expect him/her to improve or change?

The scripture, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1 New King James Version), is not applicable here. That will be applicable when you’re talking about hypocrisy. In other words, you should first remove the log of wood in your eye before you remove the speck in another person’s eye. How will you help people to be better off if you don’t evaluate or judge their performance?

Don’t withhold praise when people deserve it. Don’t be stingy with praise. But don’t praise them when they deserve correction or rebuke. This is different from being judgmental. We’re talking about correcting people so that they can be better. Commend them for doing well, and when you correct them, they’ll appreciate it. However, always correct them with love; don’t destroy them.

Avoid flattery. Proverbs 28:23 says, “In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery” (New Living Translation). The Contemporary English Version puts it this way: “Honest correction is appreciated more than flattery.” The New King James Version says, “He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue.” Praise people but don’t flatter them. When they deserve correction or rebuke, give it to them; don’t praise them. That will amount to flattery, and it doesn’t show that you love them and want them to get better. Proverbs 26:28, in The Living Bible, says, “Flattery is a form of hatred and wounds cruelly.”

Everyone must learn to receive corrections or constructive criticisms with appreciation. Proverbs 15:31-32 says,The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding” (New King James Version). The New Living Translation puts it this way:If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.

Sadly, some people hate correction or rebuke even when it is done in love. They will withdraw, sulk, or frown their faces. They want to be praised every time even when they have not done what is right or deserve praise. Such people will not grow or become better. Wise people love correction. Even if it is badly done, they receive the message and don’t react negatively to the messenger.

According to Proverbs 12:1, Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid” (New King James Version). Proverbs 10:17 says, He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses correction goes astray” (New King James Version). As the Good News Translation puts it, “People who listen when they are corrected will live, but those who will not admit that they are wrong are in danger.” Accept corrections; don’t put your life in danger.

Give praise or correction when it is appropriate. If you’re praised, don’t let it go to your head and if you are corrected, don’t put up a wrong attitude. Receive correction with appreciation. Let it make you better, not bitter. There is a time to praise and a time to correct.

 TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me to live a praiseworthy life. Send into my life people who can tell me the truth, not those who will deceive me with flattery. Holy Spirit, help me to listen to constructive criticisms. I will humble myself and accept correction, not ignore it.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

 T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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