cross.png“I stand corrected.”  Have you ever heard that phrase?  It is not “I sit corrected.”  Nor is it “I lay down corrected.”  It is “I stand corrected.”  Why that choice of words?  What is the origin of the phrase?  I did not know.  Because the phrase is so widely used, I had no luck in an Internet search until I combined the phrase with the term “etymology.”  Here is the hit that led me to the answer.  This hit (here), however, is the one that that gave me the most insight.

To stand corrected, to be set right, as after an error in a statement of fact. –Wycherley.

When you understand or you stand corrected, you have been set right.  That is, you are able to remain upright.

As Plato observed, accepting correction is highly important.  Consider what he said about ignorance.

Ignorance, the root and the stem of every evil.  (from here)

Is evil merely not knowing any better?  Not quite. Consider what Philosopher Peter Kreeft has to say.

Plato is half right: evil does indeed come from ignorance, but not only from ignorance for then it would be excusable. In fact, ignorance first comes from evil. We will, we choose, we create the moral ignorance in our souls the ignorance that Plato saw was a prerequisite to doing evil. We voluntarily turn off the light of truth. For instance, we shut out the divine truth and justice of “thou shalt not steal” before we sin by stealing. The ignorance of the thief—by which he thinks that filling his pockets with stolen money will make him happier than filling his soul with proper virtue—is indeed, as Plato saw, a prerequisite for his act of theft. But that ignorance in turn has as its prerequisite the will’s choice to turn the thief s attention away from the truth of the moral law. He wills to look instead at the pleasures he thinks will derive from his loot. His ignorance comes from his ignoring.  (from here)

So when someone offers you a correction, do not cavalierly ignore that person.  Do not feel shamed.  Listen attentively.  There is no shame in being willing to learn.  Instead, when we accept and learn from each other’s corrections, we help each other remain upright.

6 thoughts on “I STAND CORRECTED

  1. “Nonetheless, I do agree that some are always willing to help the Lord judge their fellow man.” LOL!!!!! What a great way to put it. You crack me up.

  2. I could be wrong — interpreting the Bible can be difficult — but I think James was worried about God’s judgment. Nonetheless, I do agree that some are always willing to help the Lord judge their fellow man.

    Teaching is not my primary occupation. It is merely one I have enjoyed. I taught as a graduate student in chemistry and as a part-time instructor at a local private university (computer courses).

  3. I didn’t really think it was, Tom, but I self-reflected anyway : )

    And yes, teachers do have great responsibilities. But so does anyone who must be a role model…and that includes just about all of us! And since we are all human, well…let’s just say we do the best we can.

    Bloggers, writers, those in the public eye DO tend to be judged more harshly than others. But learning through writing and dialogue is just too important for me to worry about people’s judgmental natures. It’s bothersome sometimes, but not bothersome enough to make me stop.

    I didn’t realize you taught. What level? I’m guessing college.

  4. kgotthardt – This post was not directed at you. If it was directed at anyone, it was directed at me. I am, I fear, my own best audience.

    I too have had the opportunity to teach. At first, I was concerned about embarrassing myself. So I worked hard to prepare for my class. That fear subsided, but then I became concerned that my students should learn their lessons properly. So I continued to work hard.

    Nonetheless, this post is not about my profession. Instead, it is about religion and ethics. So why do it? There are good reasons not to. James (James 3:1) warns against being too eager to teach: “Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.” Yet Jesus gave us the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20), and Bible clearly instructs parents to teach their children — “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). So we must teach religion and ethics, and because teaching gives me an incentive to learn well the lessons I post, I accept the risk of being judged more harshly.

  5. I suppose the crux of the problem is unless we have sufficient reason to believe the person correcting us is right, we do not believe we ought to be corrected.

    However, it seems when a large population tells you that you are wrong, you should at least give it some thought. There is nothing demeaning in saying, “I made a mistake.” As you point out, doing so allows us to keep standing tall; it does not make us kneel in submission.

    We often respect other people more when they say, “Ooops! My error.” Admitting to be wrong is to admit we are human beings.

    That said, I have had to admit I sometimes get carried away with my passion and righteous anger. I’m not always tactful. I can be downright insulting. But hey…I’m working on it : ) And I usually have good, documented reasons for ranting, though my communications could be better.

    (I don’t know that this post was directed at me, Tom, but I was raised Catholic. I have to “confess” if I think I did something wrong. In some ways, it’s not a bad habit, but at other times, I take guilt trips when I need not.)

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