I don’t like being crticized, but I know that at times it has been good for me. Of course, it is largely dependent upon how I respond to that criticism, but if I have the appropriate response, I am usually able to grow through that criticism and become a better person. Can you imagine if we only received praise and affirmation all the days of our lives? We would be pretty narcissistic human beings, which in turn could make us quite despicable. So, criticism isn’t always a bad thing…depending on how you respond to it!
Of course, when we want to talk about criticism we need go no further than the book of Job. This man knew all about criticism! And the people heaping the criticism on him were his friends. Some friends huh? I love what Job says in chapter 6:24, “Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong.” What a brilliant response to your critics! I think there are three evaluations you need to make when you are being criticized.
1. Evaluate the source of criticism
Where is the criticism coming from? Is the source reliable and trustworthy? To be honest, there are some mean-spirited people in the world who live with the aim and purpose of criticizing anything that moves. I would not place much value on their words. However, when the source is credible, even if the criticism stings, you need to stop and evaluate it. Which brings me to my second point.
2. Evaluate the truth of the criticism
Now to do this you have to be objective, and that is difficult when you feel you are being attacked. So, don’t take criticism too personally. You will never be able to evaluate the truth of the criticism if you feel hurt, offended and sorry for yourself. Ask yourself the question - is there truth to what is being said? There could be no truth in it – then discard the criticism. There could be some truth in it – then try to assess what that piece of truth is. There may be absolute truth in what was said – then learn from it. Which brings me to my third point.
3. Evaluate yourself in the light of that criticism
Try to stand outside of the situation (yes, I know it’s difficult!) and objectively evaluate the words being spoken. If there is truth in what is being said, you want to learn from it, improve yourself and grow through it. A Job response is, “Show me,” so that I can learn.
As tough as criticism can be, it can have value. Many of the lessons I have learned have been from my critics. Some of those people genuinely cared about me and some of them did not. Surprisingly, I have even learned from the people who did not care about me.
My prayer is that you will have a blessed day today. May you feel and know God’s grace and peace throughout this day.
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,