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Pointers along the way #85

Looking for feedback
- Jacob Ninan

We are all imperfect. Most people acknowledge this general statement without problem. However that is very different from acknowledging real imperfections in ourselves. Our response to criticism, correction and friendly jibes shows others how mature we are.

Generally speaking, we go into what psychologists call 'defence mechanisms' when our fault is pointed out. We may straightaway deny it. We may attack the person who is pointing out our fault. We may point out that the 'accuser' also has the same fault. We may divert attention to some fault of the 'accuser.' We may give an explanation for our fault. We may try to justify our fault given the 'special' circumstance. We may change the topic. While these are common tactics, they will not help us to grow up and become mature.

One mark of maturity is that while we are pressing on to perfection, we are comfortable with accepting the fact that we are imperfect and that we will keep on discovering our imperfections. In other words, we are not shocked when we see our imperfections. We know that God has accepted us in Christ Jesus just as we are and loves us even though we are not worthy. So we are not in a constant struggle to make ourselves acceptable to God. And when we know that God has accpted us, we are not straining to make people accept us.

A mature man is aware of his strengths and weaknesses (Ro.12:3). He acknowledges God in all his ways and He believes that it is God who has given him those strengths (Pr.3:6;Jas.1:17). He also believes that God will help him to deal with his weaknesses. His 'self-confidence' is not easily shaken when he comes face to face with his weaknesses or failures. But he presses on to perfection, seeking God for help (He.6:1).

But one who has not come to this maturity is very much disturbed when someone points out a fault, and starts up one of his defence mechanisms. He can't bear to see his faults because acknowledging them would result in a reduction in his self worth.

The mature man, on the other hand, is always looking for feedback on what God and people think about him. He is not a slave to the opinion of man as an immature man is, but he looks forward to this feedback because he is pressing on to perfection. He knows that unless he knows where he is wrong, he cannot become better.