1 Peter 2 vs 21-23: “For even to this were you called (it is inseparable from your vocation).
For Christ also suffered for you, leaving you (His personal) example, so that you should follow in His footsteps.
“He was guilty of no sin, neither was deceit (guile) ever found on His lips. When he was reviled and insulted, He did not revile or offer insult in return, (when) He was abused and suffered, He made no threats (of vengeance), but He trusted (Himself and everything) to Him who judges fairly.”
This portion of scripture provides the right attitude toward criticism. Our ability to take criticism can make us or break us. No one is indifferent to criticism. It causes us to respond either positively or negatively.
Learning how to handle criticism is one of the most difficult lessons we can ever have. One of the costs of leadership is criticism, if we are to be unique and stand apart from the crowd, we must be able to handle criticism.
The most regressive way of handling (avoiding) criticism is by saying nothing, doing nothing, and therefore being nothing. However when you are willing to stick your neck out, someone will want to chop it off.
However, don’t let that threat keep you from being all you can in God. Step out, rise above it!
Ten ways of taking criticism:
Understand the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. You need to know and learn how to interpret criticism. Is it positive criticism to build you up or negative to tear you down. Someone said that constructive criticism is when I criticize you, destructive criticism is when you criticize me.
To determine the motive behind criticism is to ask yourself these questions:
In what spirit is it given?
Is it judgemental?
When and where is the criticism being given.
Why is the criticism given?
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Develop the ability to laugh at yourself when given criticism. Blessed is he who can enjoy his blunders.
Too many of us take ourselves too seriously and God not seriously enough. We are approved of God, we don’t have to win the approval of others all the time. Some people outwardly appear to appreciate words of constructive criticism, but in private, we fall apart emotionally, becoming angry, vindictive or deeply hurt.
Look beyond the criticism and see the critic. When someone comes with news about another person, be very much interested in who said it than what was said. When you know who, then you can either listen or say “there they go again.” Keep in mind the following things about your critic:
Is it someone whose character you respect? Criticism from a wise man is worth listening to.
Is criticism a pattern? If so, don’t place too much attention to it.
Is criticism a way of getting attention?
Finally ask yourself this question: “Does the critic sincerely want to help me?”
Watch your own attitude toward the critic. A negative attitude toward criticism can be more destructive than the criticism itself. Don’t develop a bad attitude and begin to weep and sulk and stay away from church.
Believe that good people get criticized. In Matthew 11 vs 19, Jesus whose character and motives were pure and spotless was called a glutton / wine bibber.
Matthew 11 vs 19, “The son of man came eating and drinking (with others), and they say Behold, a glutton and a wine drinker, a friend of tax collectors and (especially wicked) sinners! Yet wisdom is justified and vindicated by what she does (her deeds) and by her children.”
A drunkard in Luke 7 vs 34, A Samaritan dog John 8 vs 48 (had a demon). “The Jews answered him, Are we not right when we say You are a Samaritan and that You have a demon (that You are under the power of an evil spirit)?” Friend of sinners Mathew 11 vs 19. “A friend of tax collectors and (especially wicked) sinners!”
In fact there are times we should see criticism from the world as verification that our lives have been changed. If you are living a life for God expect some criticism.
Keep physically and spiritually in shape. Physical exhaustion has a tremendous effect on the way we act and react, it distorts the way we see and handle life. In 1 Kings 19 vs 4, Elijah succumbed to opposition when he was in a state of weariness.
(Jezebel was after him). Elijah complained “It is enough, now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 1 Kings 19 vs 4.
Watch, weariness spiritually and physically, because Satan will take advantage of it. When we become overly tired, we become overly critical, and at the same time unable to handle criticism.
Don’t just see the critic, see if there is a crowd. Check to find out if you are dealing with a pocket of negative people, then don’t lose sleep over it. However, if the critics are reliable people, then realize you have a challenge to work on.
Wait for time to prove them wrong. Time is your best ally (friend) it allows you to prove yourself right. As time moves on, if the cause of criticism is not legitimate, it will be eliminated and you will be vindicated.
Surround yourself with positive people. When you have spare time, spend it with people who will build you up.
Enough time with positive people will minimize the effect of negative people. It will also discourage you from being critical.
Soar above your adversaries instead of battling with them. (Leave turkeys and chickens alone be an eagle).
Concentrate on your mission – change your mistakes. If you want to be in a state of frustration, then concentrate on your mistakes.
Arabs say, if you stop each time dogs bark, you will never reach anyway. Don’t let your mistakes become road blocks, make them building blocks.
Ways of giving criticism
Check your motives. Seek to help, not to humiliate.
Make sure the issue is worthy of criticism. Petty, continual criticism is the mark of a small mind.
Be specific. When you confront, say exactly what you mean and provide examples to back yourself up.
Don’t undermine the person’s self-confidence.
Attack the problem, not the person. Deal with the issue at hand, so that the offender leaves with a clear understanding of issues raised.
Confront when the time is right. When you have completed your homework, then you are prepared.
End confrontation with encouragement. To leave a discouraged person without hope is cruel. Give it a “sandwich treatment.”
Criticism between praise.