This morning I’m going to write about correction and some principles I try to use when/ if correcting someone!

The only way to get better at something is by being corrected. We all know this from school or life!

Not to correct someone will do them no favours!

However the human mind can’t learn or correct too many things at a time. Think about how long it took you to learn to drive or to cycle or swim not mention to learn a foreign language!

A well known Irish proverb!

“Praise the youth and they will come!”

In other words, encourage, encourage and encourage and when you correct, encourage even more!

Jesus is not like Simon Cowell in front of a rubbish singer laughing at our comparative lack of holiness and christian virtue!

No! Jesus encourages us and only rebukes us severely if after repeated loving correction we simply refuse to listen or make any effort!

Recently I’ve received some correction myself in relation to my blog! The well meaning people behind it feel I don’t speak enough about the sacraments etc. when appearing on gay media.

However the way these corrections were worded made it seem like I don’t even use the sacraments myself!

They jumped straight into fault finding and criticising me and my blog when in actual fact I speak about the healing power of the sacraments and the power of the priest and prayer constantly!

When correction is done in this way it’s impossible to take it seriously! It turns into politics and fighting and does not lead to christian growth. It’s like being dragged up to the headmasters office for something you didn’t even do!

Now if you are humble about it you can put aside the bad attitude with which it was said and ask yourself if there is some merit in what is being said but this isn’t easy!

We all can be sensitive, we all have complicated lives and today’s church and world are complicated!

This means that we all need a lot of love and encouragement and to be reminded that even if we are making some mistakes or wrong on some things, God is merciful and over time He will teach us and grow us!

So! Here is a tip!

Before writing that email of correction, reread it and ask yourself these question:

Is there more positive in it than negative?

Does it encourage the other on the good things that they are doing?

Does it show understanding and mercy for the areas where you perceive they fall short?

Would you like to receive this message?!

If you answer no to most of these questions, don’t worry! Your intentions were surely good but hold off pressing ‘send’!

Ask yourself a few more questions!

Am I the right person to correct this person?

Is it my business?

Am I sure that I’m correct?

Can I see, acknowledge and put in writing the others point of view?

Can I show humility in how I came to my truth?

Am I able to bless the other?

Have I prayed?

If the answer is still ‘no’ then you definitely shouldn’t get involved and God is calling you to looking at your own heart!

If it’s too late and you have already sent the message then you may need to apologise to your brother or sister and send a new and more loving one!!

And if like me you have received such messages then once again it is a call to forgiving and praying for a softening of heart and understanding for the sender!

Don’t get bitter, get better!!

Surely priests are the greatest victims of this type of correcting behaviour and as lay people we must be very wary not to fall into it!

And so this weekend let us pray and reflect on how we can encourage others and how through our love and example we may love and encourage people into a personal relationship of love with God, with prayer, with the sacraments and with the church!

May we be full of the fruits of the Holy Spirit:

And may more and more people come to know in their hearts the joy to be Christians!

Our lady of Medjugorje, pray for us!

Have a blessed day!

Michael