The last of my seniors' terms papers is being finished this morning. Last nihgt the final proof was done on it. Since it was Ezekiel's paper, he had the benefit (and the curse) of having two older sisters who were able to proof it for him. I've seen this done many times around here. Jeanna proofing Darby's papers, Darby proofing Mo's, and Mo proofing Zeke's. At times it is assigned like with a term paper. At other times it is solicited- "Ezekiel, can you look over my calc assignment?'' And sometims it is given with out permission- "You do realize that you did this all wrong, right?" In all cases proofing needs to be done, but the enthusiasm of the acceptance is usually the problem.
None of us likes to be told when we are wrong or mess up, but it is necessary to our growth and not just in academics. However, that fact does not make it any easier for us to accpet it, especially when it comes unsolicited. This is where grace comes in.
As the proofer I have to understand that I have my own downfalls and shortcomings. This helps me to show grace to those who I am proofing, but it also gives me eyes to see in them the same shortcomings evident in my own life. Both of these things taken togehther can help me to have the love to step into someone else's life and help them through whatever it might be without passing judgment and condemnation, while still recognizing that they need to rid this from their life. How much like Jesus does that sound? Quite a bit to me.
But there is a flip side to this proofing. As the proof-ee I need to be ready to take the proofing. In the best of worlds I ask for it, but I don't think we are all there. That's because at times we put a blind spot on our shortcomings. My hope and prayer is that we can at least be OPEN to the proofing. If I can acept the fact that I am not where I am supposed to be, then I should be open to the proofing that comes from others knowing it is there for my help and not to cause harm.
Neither of these tasks (proofer or proof-ee) is easy. Both require courage, wisdom, and grace. But most of all, both require love. Do I love you enough to step in and say the hard things that need to be said? Do I love you enough to listen to those hard things and respond?
If Ezekiel listens to his sisters' editorial advice he hopes it will lead to an A. If we are willing to listen to others it will lead us to a life more closely connected to Christ.
Check Hebrews 12:4-13.
P.S. Did you catch my errors? There where five- or I guess that makes six.