Jul 18, 2014
How we take criticism says a lot about us as a believer.
Over the past few weeks we’ve picked apart different characteristics of our faith and how they influence our walk with Christ. How we take criticism is no less important. What may be surprising is the role our response to criticism plays in each of the characteristics we’ve studied.
An authentic Christian looks to gain more and more knowledge of Christ. If we think we already know everything or can’t improve, what’s our motivation to learn more? What’s our motivation to study the word? What’s our motivation to grow in our faith? Having a know-it-all attitude isn’t at all a representation of Christ. We don’t know everything. And as believers, we can and should be consistently learning and growing. A huge part of that growth is taking criticism well. We should use criticism it to help produce character.
The inability to hear healthy criticism probably means that to some extent you view yourself above others. Does that reflect a true servants heart? If you think you’re better than everyone else, you’re going to see them as a lesser individual. You may even fall into the trap of treating their opinions like they don’t matter. Yes, you may be a better vocalist, drummer, or speaker than the person providing the criticism but taking pride in that doesn’t show servanthood. Remain humble in your strengths remembering that God sees us all the same. It’s with his love that we’re all covered: 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. We should extend that same love that Christ showed us to others.
Community is a feeling of fellowship with others because of shared attitudes or interests. If someone takes offense to every suggestion, opinion, or comment shared, can community happen? Of course not! It’s impossible to build community when people feel like they have to walk on eggshells when they’re around us. What’s the solution then to building community? We must give and take criticism with grace and love.
Excellence not perfection
You’re not perfect! That may be news to you, but it’s true. None of us are perfect. We can always improve. When we’re unwilling to learn or better ourselves, when we think we’re the best of the best, when we don’t listen to the advice of others, that’s our perfectionism showing. We’re not called to perfection. We’re called to work excellently for the Lord: Colossians 3:23-24. Our goal then should be to take criticism and apply it to what we do as we strive for excellence.
Closing thought: Take all criticism with a grain of salt.
In 1 Samuel 8, Samuel took offense when the elders of Israel came to him demanding a king. He was upset that they wanted a king rather of his sons as judges. He cried to God asking why they were rejecting him. God responded that it wasn’t Samuel they were rejecting but God. Samuel had taken the criticism personally and gotten offended. How often do we do the same thing? We take offense to things even if they’re not meant to be offensive.
Ultimately what you do with criticism is your call. Keep in mind that how you take it says a lot about your walk as a believer. Through it all, continue serving to the best of your ability with a humble, loving heart.
Why is it difficult to take criticism well?
What area of your Christian walk is affected most by the critic of others?