How well do you deal with criticism? Not only is this an important question to answer, it points out a spiritual lesson that every single woman will need to learn. Proverbs 3:11(NLT) tells us, “My child, don’t reject the LORD’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you.” This verse lets us know in no uncertain terms that God disciplines and corrects. Very often He does it through others. For instance, someone might point out something within your personality they find offensive or off-putting. This someone just might be your future husband, and your response can either bring you closer or take you further away from the kind of marriage you desire.
Everyone receives criticism; politicians, religious and spiritual leaders, celebrities, athletes, teachers, doctors, lawyers… you name it. We all receive criticism, but it can hit the hardest when it comes from the person you love, and a lot of us do not handle it well at all. Criticism can be constructive or destructive. In either case, it can be handled with a Godly finesse. One of the ways that a mature Christian person handles criticism of any kind is to first try and make the distinction as to whether it is true or false. If it’s false, we kick it to the curb and keep it moving. However, when something has been pointed out about us that may be hurtful but is accurate, it can lead to correction.
In order for criticism to be helpful, you and I have to first hear it, and then be humble enough to consider whether it is true. In a heated situation, someone might say something out of spite, but it is important for us to weigh it when cooler heads prevail. Proverbs 18:12 (NLT) tells us, “Haughtiness goes before destruction: humility precedes honor”. ‘Haughtiness’ is another word for ‘pride’. Pride can lead to missed opportunities, and it can also cause us to go in the wrong direction. Most folks that are arrogant or prideful can’t see correction or direction, they only see themselves, and God isn’t pleased with this kind of mind-and-heart-set.
The love of God is activated in humility. It allows us to surrender to God, so that He can lovingly correct us and help us to recover what has been lost.
Another thing that we have to examine is whether we are too consumed with ourselves. This happens frequently with singles. We learn to be self-reliant and sometimes lose a register of sensitivity when it comes to the needs of others. The problem is that it becomes extremely difficult to recognize your faults or weaknesses if you’re consumed with yourself. Some people talk about their problems relentlessly. They’re not necessarily egotistical, but they too focused on themselves to realize that it isn’t always about them. In order to grow, you must humble your heart enough to admit you have imperfections. Even if they seem harmless to you, they could be harming your preparedness to partner. To the extent that they stand in the way of your blessing, you will need to address them.
Hebrews 12:11 (NLT) tells us, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Sometimes we forget that God holds our futures. He knows our pasts, and He sees our tomorrows. We might not recognize a situation that will cause us to lose out on an opportunity or a blessing, but God knows every nook and cranny of it. If we are prayerful and humble, God can prepare us to respond in a way that minimizes collateral damage. So, when we hear criticism from others, the best practice is to seek God about it, and let Him speak to you on the matter.
Heavenly Father’s number one goal for us is to grow in Christ. When we allow the love of Christ to expand in our hearts, the Holy Spirit can lead us down the path to the blessings we desire. The truth is that we don’t always pay attention to his guiding hand. We miss important directions, and we skip details that would qualify our best effort. These kinds of misses can add up and cost us big time. We are blessed to have a loving Heavenly Father who is always rooting for us to be the best, and He is willing to teach and help us achieve it.
Be sensitive to the fact that the sting of criticism can sometimes lead to God’s correction. It would be wonderful if the people who criticize us always did it in love, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes criticism will come from the person we love, and it is levied in a way that crushes us, but God created us to be resilient, humble, and flexible. We can and will bounce back, and hopefully we will learn that criticism is sometimes a way to get our attention. If we examine it with careful scrutiny, it might help us to grow in Christ and become more pliable to God’s Will. ■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“Bounce Back from the Sting of Criticism”, written by FACM, Finding A Christian Man.Com ©2017. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!