Three Responses To Criticism
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Proverbs 19:20
It’s easy to see the problems in another person, but we don’t always recognize our own shortcomings. When someone criticizes you, do you usually write it off as jealousy? Or maybe you’re prone to strike back with sharp words. It’s always better to first consider some ways in which you may be able to benefit from critique.
More than once, I’ve received helpful tips through the words of someone who was mean-spirited. It was wrong of them to criticize me in that way. Although it stung, there was some truth there that helped me to adjust my actions.
Even if you are sure that the person criticizing you is in the wrong, getting into a word battle rarely convinces someone who has a problem with criticism to get control of their bad habit. Proverbs 29:9 says, “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.”
Words do hurt, and if you choose not to confront the person who spoke harshly to you, you can take your wounded ears to God and ask Him for comfort and direction. When the prophet Nehemiah was criticized, he brought his troubles to God, who assured him, “You’re right on schedule. Keep on building the city walls, and don’t answer your critics.”
If you examine your heart and your own words and you’re assured you haven’t been in error, go ahead boldly! Don’t waste time and energy answering criticism, instead of listening to God’s calling.
Resource reading: Nehemiah 2:1-20