Read Acts 18
Focus on verse 26
It is typically never an easy task to correct a person when one notices they have made an error. Some people are better at this than others. There are times when I have been corrected when I have come away from the experience feeling encouraged and motivated. There are other times that I have been corrected where I came away from it feeling humiliated and demoralized. Some of the difference might have to do with the nature of my error, but by far the greatest factor would be the fashion and spirit with which the correction takes place.
Years ago I had a mentor who had the uncanny ability to issue a reprimand in a manner that I clearly understood what I had done wrong, yet I would come away feeling more empowered than demoralized. In today’s reading Luke records an account where Priscilla and Aquila take a respected leader and teacher named Apollos aside to correct him in some of the details of what he was teaching about the way of God.
He (Apollos) began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. (v. 26)
Apparently Aqilla and Priscilla were the kind of people who knew how to offer correction with grace – either that or Apollos was a humble man who took correction well. Either way there is no record of Apollos resisting the correction, in fact the context of the following text would seem to indicate that he accepted it respectfully, perhaps conscious of the fact that Aquilla and Priscilla were students of the Apostle Paul.
The result is that Apollos becomes very helpful in refuting the Jews who opposed this new teaching by showing from the Scriptures – which at that time was only what we now know of as the Old Testament – that Jesus was the Christ.
What I take home from this account is that it is important to correct error – particularly when it pertains to the teaching of the word of God, but that it is also important to be sure that our correction is done respectfully and with grace so that it is more likely to be received well. If we correct someone brutishly – we might be right in the content of or correction, but we are wrong in the delivery, and if it is not received well by the one we correct, all is lost. On the other hand, if the correction is delivered with grace and respect, and as a result the person being corrected chooses to accept the correction, not only have we corrected the error, but we have also deepened the relationship we have with one another.