When you were in school, did you ever get a paperback from a teacher covered with red marks? Maybe you took one look at it and threw it in the garbage or stuffed it into the abyss of your desk. As an educator, I have seen some teachers spend hours over-grading papers. They give too much feedback all at once, and it’s usually wasted because the student never reads it. There is, indeed, an art to giving feedback.
Jesus knew how to provide the right amount of feedback at just the right time. In our Scripture reading today, we see an example of how and when Jesus critiqued His disciples. A large crowd had been waiting for Jesus near the foot of the mountain where He had gone with Peter, James, and John and where the disciples witnessed the Transfiguration. In the meantime, a man with a demon-possessed child begged the disciples to cast out the demon. Even though they tried to help the child by performing this miracle, their efforts failed.
When Jesus learned about the incident, He used harsh words: “You unbelieving and perverse generation. How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus sounds like a frustrated teacher with students who just aren’t paying attention. His much-needed feedback used very direct language. He was honest with His followers about their lack of faith.
Notice what happens in verses 19–20. The disciples respond to the feedback with a question, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” This was encouraging! Here they showed that they wanted to learn. Hooray! Jesus seems to change His tone in verses 20 and 21 as He responds, “If you have faith . . . nothing will be impossible for you.”
>> What about you? Are you open to receiving feedback from God’s Word and from God’s people? Pray that you will be open to receiving biblical feedback that will help you grow in faith.