Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 2.4.15 – When You’re Criticized


Full disclosure: the only criticism I’ve received in the past several months has shown respect, building toward my health and others. I write this only as help.

Criticism. To most, criticism has as much appeal as athlete’s foot. But, it happens. Especially in leadership, criticism finds people for any variety of reasons. Below find three suggestions for immediately reacting to criticism.

1. Listen. 

Even if you think the criticism is total bunk, listen. Take notes. Be sure the person knows you have the willingness to hear them out. Showing defensiveness won’t help.

A big key in this process is to repeat what you’re hearing and make sure they agree you’ve heard them correctly. Depending on your relationship with the individual, offer to pray with them after you’ve met.

2. Ask for time.

Many times taking time to pray and discern can allow the truth to trump emotion.

3. If you need to follow up, seek clear communication.

I could write a short book about the number of times critical comments and thoughts have developed simply due to poor communication – either giving or receiving. Imperfection walks closely in step with the human condition. Sometimes what we say isn’t what’s heard, and what’s heard isn’t what we said or meant.

4. Take the log out!

Matthew 7:5 – You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

I could write another short book about times my sin had blinded me to thinking I had the only correct view. Praise God for faithful believers and friends willing to take the Bible seriously and confront in love.

A common caution about receiving criticism challenges our hearts: some measure of truth exists in (almost) every criticism. Some. Maybe not much. But some. Ask God and others to help reveal that.

Proverbs 27:6 – Faithful are the wounds of a friend . . .

5. Forgive and pray.

When criticism resolves and forgiveness happens, the Lord is honored. Relationships often emerge stronger on the other side of this process.

Sometimes criticism doesn’t really resolve. Relationships splinter, or part. Closeness fades. Whatever the result, a forgiving attitude proves helpful. Even though someone may not expressly seek forgiveness, looking at them with compassion rather than contempt best honors the Lord who even prayed forgiveness over his killers (who the Bible never records asking Jesus to forgive them).

Praying for your critics helps set your heart right. Pray the Lord will help them find success and growth for His kingdom.

Think. Can you respond well to criticism? Why or why not?

Act. Which of these do you most need to put into practice to help with criticism you’ve received or will receive in the future?




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