Thursday, September 18, 2014

When Criticism Comes Our Way

I attended a meeting this week of local ministers.  It was really great to be around other guys who are serving churches in our area.  During the session, several topics were discussed.  One of the main matters talked about was criticism.  As I listened to the guys honestly share from their hearts, I was reminded of this truth:  Everyone deals with criticism in one way or another.

So, what are we to do when criticism comes our way?

Well, here are a few things I've learned over the years...

[1]  When criticism comes, stay calm and don't react defensively.  Breathe.  Keep your cool.  Don't give your critic a quick, knee-jerk response.  Listen patiently and try to hear what they're saying.

[2]  Try to not take it personally.  Consider the fact that the critic may be more upset about the circumstances than he or she is about you.  Sometimes the critic may not know who exactly to address the matter with, and they may just need to blow off some steam to anyone who will listen.

[3]  If the critic is specifically talking about you, ask yourself if he or she has a legitimate complaint.  Let's face it:  Some criticisms we receive in life are deserved.  There are times when we certainly should be given constructive criticism because we are just plain wrong.  Be honest and take a look within.  If the critic is even half-way right, be mature and strong enough to take it to heart.

[4]  Learn from criticism.  There is always room for improvement in our lives.  If at least a shred of what is being said has some accuracy, we can grow wiser from it and decide to live better in the future.

[5]  If the critic addressing you is totally wrong and unfair, ignore it and remember that God will vindicate you in His own way.  People may just be completely off base when they tear into you.  God sees that and knows that.  And one way or another, God will deal with that situation on your behalf.  He will see to it that your name is cleared eventually.  And He will properly address people who treat you wrong.  So don't take matters into your own hands.  Speak the truth, let it go, and move on.  God will handle the rest.

I've received some criticism in my life.  Some of it was deserved.  Some of it was not.  And I bet the same is true for you.

Let's look to God for guidance when criticism comes our way.  He knows best how to deal with it.  And we can choose to let it serve as a growing time in our life.

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