Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. (Proverbs 10:17 NIV)
When I was growing up I loved stereo equipment. I wanted to be an audiophile. I really didn’t understand music, but I wanted the biggest and best equipment I could afford. I think the height of that pursuit was the evening we put two stereo systems together in one 12×15 bedroom to listen to one of the first quadrophonic broadcasts. There was hardly room to sit and listen with the bedroom so full of equipment.
After my wife and I were married I got into recording and we produced several gospel records. Eventually, we saved up enough money and were able to buy the components for my dream speaker system. The cabinets were huge by today’s standards (36x24x18 inches). We still have them, and they sound good, but you could purchase a much better sounding system today for far less money. There are many factors that contributed to the increasing quality and lower cost of consumer audio equipment and the one that is relevant to this post is feedback.
It is possible to purchase a system that calibrates itself to an absolute standard by playing a known sound and then adjusting the system to assure that what is being heard is what is being played. In electronics, this is an application of feedback. The Bible often calls this discipline.
We may have the best of intentions, but our ability to walk the road to life is imperfect. We easily lose our way and often don’t know we are lost. When someone who knows the way provides needed direction we have a choice. We can heed the feedback and get back on the path or we can ignore it and wander further away.
Wandering may not seem like a bad thing, but this proverb ends with a warning that is very important. We are all leaders which means that we all have people who are following us. The choices we make and the actions we take have consequences for us and for those who follow us. When we ignore or dismiss corrective feedback we go astray and take others with us.
Feedback is essential to achieving the highest quality sound in audio. Discipline is just as essential to achieving the highest quality life. Discipline, correction, or feedback can take many forms in our relationships. Sometimes it is delivered in a very pleasant manner and at other times it may seem harsh. Regardless, if it helps us stay on the path to life it is to be valued and appreciated.
For my grandchildren:
Learn to say thank you for feedback. Apply the feedback and learn to live well.