When someone criticizes me, my sinful-nature wants to defend myself, to argue with them or to point out that person’s glaring faults.
Does that honor God?
Sometimes, God may be speaking to me through someone else’s observations. I’d like to see us listen carefully to the criticism of others, weighing it and praying about it then allowing God and His Word to help us see if there is some sin He wants us to repent of. If the criticism is not true, or we consider the criticism in light of scripture and it doesn’t hold up – we can reject it. But God can and does use others to help us see our sin so that we can turn away from it and grow closer to Christ.
If we can accept that God is infinitely wiser than we are, and that other people may have wisdom to share, and that we (like all people) are wretched sinners… we can listen humbly, calmly and patiently, trusting God to use the criticism to sharpen us, refine our faith, prune our character and make us more like Christ. We all have blind spots. Sometimes other people can see things in us that we don’t see ourselves.
I especially would like us to carefully consider the criticism of those who are in places of God-given authority over us:
– bosses, teachers
– parents (particularly when we are still under their care)
– police officers/government officials
– pastors, Bible teachers, godly mentors
– husbands (a boyfriend is not a spiritual authority – but the closer you come to marriage with a godly guy, the more important it is for you to allow him to lead. Part of his leadership is going to be that he be free to gently, humbly, respectfully rebuke you when he sees sin in your life. There will also be times when you may need to gently, humbly, respectfully confront him about sin in his life, as well. But when he is talking about you – that is a time to just listen humbly and be as receptive as possible.)
Pride repels other people. Humility attracts them. Godly humility is BEAUTIFUL!
WHEN I AM CRITICIZED:
My goals are to
– not verbally attack or strike back
– not defend myself or justify myself
– look for any truth in the criticism
– be willing to repent and apologize for any sin in my life
– consider the source of the criticism (if it is someone who is godly, give the criticism much more weight. That person’s words may be life giving.)
– listen for anything God might be telling me
– pray about the criticism
– reject anything that does not match up with God’s Word
– realize I am not responsible to please people – my job as a believer in Christ is to please Jesus.
– understand that there are times people may be upset with me when I am doing the godly thing. Sometimes people will be upset. That is going to have to be ok. If I am standing for God, and people pile contempt on me – Jesus says to rejoice and leap for joy – for great is my reward in heaven! (Luke 6)
- Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Proverbs 9:8
- He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding. Proverbs 15:31-32
This is a video post I did for Peacefulwife, but the principles will be very similar during dating, engagement or courtship.
Most of us do NOT like receiving criticisms, so this is a REALLY important skill for us to work on! A 5 minute video.