Whether it comes from a friend, colleague or even our spouse, criticism can be hard to take. More often than not, it can be perceived as a direct attack against ourselves and leaves us feeling hurt and obstinate towards others. The very connotation of ‘criticism’ comes with negativity and resentment, but I’m hoping that by keeping these 5 reasons in mind, I can change how I respond to criticism in my own life and use it as an opportunity for refinement and growth.
“Respect and obey the LORD! This is the beginning of knowledge. Only a fool rejects wisdom and good advice.” Proverbs 1:7 CEV
1. It was said in love
Does the person who shared this criticism with you know you well? Even more so, do they love you and only desire the best for you? A criticism not said out of love isn’t necessarily one you need to take on board. However, one that comes from the heart of a friend should be deeply considered if only in recognition of the pure motives behind it.
2. You know it is true
Often we are too scared to face our deepest struggles and feel they are too hard to overcome. When these are brought to you as criticisms don’t shrink into denial, instead use the opportunity to break habits and experience freedom from these things that have weighed heavy on your mind. You don’t have to carry this burden alone anymore.
3. They know what they are talking about
If someone criticizes your interpersonal skills yet lacks them, it’s not always the best to heed their words; but if someone offers insight in how you can improve at something they excel in, what they are saying has merit. The fact they are sharing this with you highlights their belief that you are capable of reaching the same caliber as them, take their criticism as a compliment.
4. You want to improve
Do you desire to become a more plentiful and skilled vessel for the LORD? Being criticized doesn't mean you aren't capable or you aren't being fruitful, it is giving you the opportunity for growth. If you want to be refined, listen to criticism and assess it for validity before applying it to your life.
5. It lines up with God’s Word
Even with the best of intentions, constructive criticism can be absolutely useless if it doesn't line up with God’s Word. When receiving criticism consider this; does it align with what the Word says about God’s character, his love for the world and his plan for your life? If it ticks all these boxes, take it with conviction and peace in knowing God may just be correcting your course because he loves you as a father loves his child.