Occasionally, we listen to others and realize that they’re not speaking accurately. This might be simple misunderstandings or unintentional partial truths. And it might be clear that correction is needed, but it’s also important to consider how we correct others in these situations.
This was the case as Priscilla and Aquila heard Apollos passionately teaching others about Jesus. Apollos only knew about the baptism of John, and so Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately to him.
Their correction was done in a spirit of friendship. They didn’t attack him or demean his character. They gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed his heart was in the right place even as his teaching needed to be polished and corrected in some areas.
And, more often than not, this is a good approach for us as well.
All too often we’re quick to vilify and assume the worst in others when they misspeak or don’t say something exactly right.
We don’t have to overlook these moments, as many times a needed correction is warranted.
But how we correct remains important. And correction can still be given in a spirit of friendship.
This starts with a basic assumption of goodness – that the other is not intending to cause harm or mislead by their words. In fact, the assumption is that we actually want the same thing once we get to the heart of the matter, and that we can reason together along the way.
This is not a naïve or blind trust and we’re willing to adopt a more active resistance as needed. But we start with all the civility of friends.
In the end, be willing to speak up and correct others as needed. But learn to correct as friends without automatically rooting for their downfall.