Thursday, April 5, 2012

Accepting Criticism

Do you feel betrayed when someone offers you criticism?  Annoyed?  Irritated?  Offended?  Hurt? 

I think many of us do.  We have so much pride, that we can't take it.  We feel worse after receiving a word of criticism than Paul did after receiving a 100 stones being thrown at him.  Or, we find any and every reason possible to say that the criticism is unwarranted, illegitimate or hypocritical. 

So you know what happens?

We learn not to criticise others... to their faces.  Because if we do, they'll be offended, irritated and hurt.  No, we should just "love" them.  And by "love" we mean tolerate them.  (To their faces, that is--we are pretty good at criticising them to others in the name of "venting.")  Tolerance has become such a value in our society it means that we are, for the most part, cowards about directly telling people in our lives things we know they don't want to hear. 

Yes, cowards.

But let me ask you... Which would you rather have:
  1. People thinking about you in a negative way and not brave enough to offer any criticism.  Instead, they discuss your short-comings with others at length and only hint in a general way about "people out there" who have problems, when they really mean you.  They grumble and display an uncooperative and bad attitude around you. 
  2. People telling you directly what their criticism is, in private, and couched in statements of love and respect for other good qualities along with a disclaimer that perhaps they could be reading things wrong and allowing you the ability to accept or explain.
If you ever get the latter, be very happy!  You are blessed!  If someone shares criticisms of you like that go to great lengths to explore the depths of their thoughts and probe them for as much insight as they can offer.  Thank them for giving you their criticism.  They are gold! 

They are gold because there are so few of them.  Few people will really tell you what they're thinking.  Instead, they will take the former approach in the name of "love" and "tolerance."  But only the latter can be truly helpful to you.  You may disagree with them, and that is okay, but be thankful to God that they loved you enough to truly try to help you.  They will become the people you respect the most.

Don't be offended or hurt by their criticism because, c'mon--you already know you're far from perfect and so do others.  Don't expect others to think you are perfect, or to effectively worship you, in order for you to trust them.  Don't just accept criticism... be thankful to the person who is brave enough to offer it to you in a loving way.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. You might like this post about being "far from perfect".