Unwise Reactions to Criticism


We tend to take criticism as a form of offense, but how do we respond to criticism in a godly way?

1 Peter 2:23-24

No one likes personal criticism. Sometimes it seems that we go out of our way to help and encourage others, only to be met with a harsh word or accusation. Too often, when that happens, our protective shields immediately go up. But what do we do with the remark that has already been said? What is our normal, human response to criticism?

First, we might respond by repressing the matter. That is, we acknowledge there is a problem but don’t want to do anything about it. In such cases, we may answer, “Thank you for sharing your feelings. I understand what you are saying.” And yet we may not understand. We might feel grievously hurt by the comment but do not want to deal with the hardship of exploring or discussing it further.

Second, we may respond by suppressing the conflict. We may act as if nothing ever happened, completely ignoring the situation to the extent that we actually become unaware that anything is wrong. Far from being a cure, this only delays and exaggerates our eventual reaction to the problem.

Third, we might respond by blaming someone else. We can be quick to point the finger at others, while denying any personal responsibility in the matter.

Selfish tendencies serve only to alienate us further from those who have challenged us in the first place. True, a word of criticism can hurt, but there may be something within the remark that is worth examining. Are you strong enough to face criticism with humility and godly confidence?

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