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How Do you Handle Criticism?

deeper-conversation

As I mentioned in my last post (A Life Changing Experience | The Journey of a Daughter of the King), I attended the 2014 Pinky Promise Conference last week and there were some things that God ministered to me. God placed it on my heart to share something else He ministered to me. He spoke to me about criticism. Whenever I hear the word criticism, I cringe. I have always thought of that word in a negative sense. Whenever I feel like someone is criticizing me, I often get on the defensive and become downright angry. During quiet time at the conference, the Lord gave me a scripture to read that is about criticism in the Biblical sense. He led me to read Proverbs 27:5, “An open rebuke is better than hidden love!”.  After reading that scripture, I was just like, “Okay Lord, what are You trying to tell me?” He then began to minister to me about how I react to my mom when she lovingly corrects me. I literally shut down on my mom and, in my head, I feel like she’s being mean and judgmental. He showed me that she’s not trying to be mean to me or put me down, she’s trying to help me. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” What does that mean? That means that there are going to be times when our friends, family, etc. are going to correct us when we are wrong and that “criticism” is going to hurt, it’s going to sting, but it’s for our own good. Those who tell us what we want to hear instead of the truth are not really trying to help us. If anything, they are setting us back. God further ministered to me about this topic this morning. Proverbs 29:1, “Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.” Destroyed beyond recovery???? I don’t know about you, but those words terrify me! All those times I gave my mom attitude because she was correcting me…that could have led to me being destroyed beyond recovery meaning no coming back. I thank God for not allowing that to happen, but I know if I continue to refuse to accept criticism or respond in anger when I am being lovingly corrected, His mercy will run out. We need those in our life who are going to correct us when we are wrong, those who are not going to sugarcoat things, but tell it like it is. I’m not talking about those who are really trying to discourage and break us down. I’m talking about those who truly love us and because they have our best interest at heart, they are going to tell us what we need to hear no matter how difficult it may be.

Galatians 6:1, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path…” As brothers and sisters in Christ, it is our job to lovingly correct one another. It makes it so much easier for our siblings in Christ to correct us when we actually listen instead of going off and giving them a piece of our mind. Yes, receiving criticism is hard…it requires us to put aside our pride and humble ourselves. Our job is to listen, and then take that criticism before the Lord and ask Him to reveal our heart to us. Another thing is that at times God will correct us through our siblings in Christ so when we reject that correction, we are actually rejecting God’s correction. Revelation 3:19 says that Jesus corrects and disciplines everyone He loves. When we reject His correction, we are in turn rejecting His love for us. How we respond to criticism also demonstrates whether or not we are wise. Proverbs 9:8-9, “So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.” According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a mocker is “a person who causes repeated emotional pain, distress, or annoyance to another.” I do not want to be labeled as a mocker, I want to be seen as wise and in order to be wise, I must accept correction no matter how painful it is.

Remember that those who love you will correct you when they are wrong. They are not going to tell you what you want to hear, but they will tell you what you need to hear. Humbly receive that criticism, take it before the Lord, and allow Him to correct you and transform you. It will be painful, but it will be so worth it in the end…you will become more and more of the person God has created you to be.