I have a strong dislike for being criticized, don’t you? No one likes it. We want to be liked and accepted for who we are, the way we are.
However, there are those in our life who feel as if they have been anointed as God’s policeman, ever ready to point out the slightest misstep of another.
Criticism, by its very nature, is usually non-accepting; and often, that is the motivation behind much of the criticism leveled at someone.
Most of us don’t mind sitting around the table at a restaurant and listening to and participating in the criticism flung at our government or the weekend’s loss of a game to an otherwise unworthy opponent.
However, when the critic takes aim at us, well…
The Bible gives us numerous ideas about criticism and how to handle it. We find a major example from King David as he was being criticized.
(2Sa 16:13) So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust.
Shimei was a despicable character, having nothing nice to say about David at all—until he came face-to-face with the king. (That hasn’t happened to any of us, I’m sure.)
David’s men wanted to slay Shimei, but David would have none of it. He said, “If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” (2Sa 16:10)
Jesus, too, was unjustly criticized, yet he “opened not His mouth” in response. (Isa. 53:7)
Consider these verses from Proverbs that tell us how to handle criticism.
(Pro 13:18) If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored.
(Pro 15:31) If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.
(Pro 29:1) Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.
We are told that if we listen to and accept criticism, we have the chance to be among the wise and to be honored. If we ignore or refuse criticism, we have the chance to be humiliated.
Which would you prefer?
How about taking a middle-ground approach, and consider the possibility that—EVERY CRITICISM of you, your methods, actions, beliefs, or statements deserves at least a moment’s consideration.
There may be an element of truth regardless of the motivation of the critic.