Last week at worship team practice, something sounded a little off during one of our songs. One of our worship team members looked around and grabbed his tuner. After checking his instrument, he knew someone was out of tune, and asked if it was me. Yup. I was just a little off, but that can make all the difference. When we are “out of tune” with God, it can be obvious to a “trained ear.” It can also be a hindrance to a group as a whole. What can we pull from this experience, and how can we tune up our spiritual life?
It often takes someone else
I didn’t hear the problem at all. Fortunately, someone else did and could pinpoint it. If I had a dollar for every time I overlooked a blind spot in my spiritual life, I’d have…well, a lot of dollars. But of those times that I overlooked those blind spots, how many times did someone approach me in a kind, loving, Christlike way and try to point it out? Far too few. Looking back, I can see that I drove over some huge potholes and probably should have knocked the wheels off of my spiritual car, but not many people pointed it out. We have to do a better job of helping fellow Christians live out their spiritual walk. We avoid it like the plague. And trust me, I get that. It’s uncomfortable. It’s awkward. It can hurt your relationship with the other person. It is NOT a fun experience. However, it’s something we must do. When we’re doing this, however, we have to remember that we have to do it kindly. Also, we have to make sure we question our own motives. We can’t hurt someone for the sake of hurting them. This kind of spiritual correction can hurt, but we have to have the endgame in mind of bringing a person closer to Christ.
It takes humility
What if I just decided that I wasn’t out of tune? Does that change the sound? Nope. I would still be out of tune, no matter how vehemently I argued about it. I could have yelled, screamed, waved my arms, and stomped around, but it would still sound bad. I could have told everyone that they were out of tune and not me, but the tuner disagreed. When we have conversations with people about being spiritually out of tune, or we have to talk to someone about a major issue, the first question I ask myself is whether or not I believe that person is humble enough to take constructive criticism. It doesn’t really matter how I answer. That won’t change the fact that the conversation has to happen. It may affect my game plan, and that’s important. It takes humility to change yourself. The real takeaway here is that when someone approaches you, you must be humble enough to accept that you may have a problem. There are times when people may criticize you, and you might not have that problem. But if you reject everyone who tries to point something out, you’ll never hear the piece of advice you might need to hear the most.
It takes action
So, someone has heard my out-of-tune twanging and pointed it out. I was humble enough to understand that I was out of tune and that it was causing a bad sound in practice. Now comes the most important part: fixing the problem. You see, it doesn’t matter in the slightest if I accepted that I’m out of tune. What matters is that I start turning the tuners in order to fix the problem. Many times when someone receives some constructive criticism or has a problem pointed out, they accept that it’s a problem. Far fewer times, however, they take an action to fix it. It’s almost as if in our minds, we see that the admittance of the problem is the endgame. Not remotely. Time after time in the Bible, we see statements of knowing what is right, but not taking action. James 1:22 says not to just hear the Word of God, but to do what it says. Proverbs 4:10 tells us to hear and obey. Proverbs 19:20 says to listen and accept. There are many, many other examples of this. But what do they all have in common? Listen. Then take action.