What To Do When Criticized

My, Devotion to Him #34

 

People in general get criticized a lot. It's something in which no one likes to have happened to them. However, many are willing to criticize even though they don't like being criticized. For the Christians many of whom face much criticism for simply being a Christian. Sometimes we are criticized by family, friends, coworkers for simply making decisions based off our Christian faith. I know I've had my far share and I gladly accept more. Though, I've come to realize not many people are like myself. This is in no way to demean someone. Because we are all different, and we all handle things differently. However, there are some foundations in which we as Christians should put in place for our life. These are things to do when we are criticized and we should not only apply these if we are being criticized for our faith, because as Christians we should generally have a good character and attributes that show Christ through us. We have to remember that we are a reflection of Him and not of ourselves. 

VERSE PASSAGE: James 1:19 "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" - NIV

1. Be quick to hear.

This can be hard to do because our emotions rise up and our minds begin to think of ways to rebuttal the other person. To be quick to hear means to really try to listen to and consider what the other person is saying. We face a communication crisis in today's world. Why? Because we listen to speak instead of listening to understand. Instead of trying to understand and actually listening to the person. We are not listening to the person and instead thinking of quick one-liners or finding fault in them as they speak. We chomp at the bits waiting to through our two cents in. This is poor communication skills in which I've sadly had to deal with growing up. We need to stop this! Slow down. Take everything in that the person is telling us and actually try to understand. 

2. Be slow to speak.

Don’t interrupt or respond too quickly. Let them finish. If you speak too quickly you might speak rashly or in anger. We have all had that conversation where things are being said about us or we are being criticized and we interject what we think or the moment "we think" they are done speaking we start barking back. We say the next thing on our mind without fully thinking things through and most of the time after we've said it we know in our mind that we could have said it differently or what we said maybe took things to far. 

3. Be slow to become angry.

VERSE PASSAGE: James 1:20 "because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." - NIV

A common problem that has plagued conversations is anger. People are easily angered. The moment we are angry in a conversation we tend to let things slip and our words tend to bring injury. We have not only made ourself look bad, but this is a poor reflection on Christ, and we have in the process injured someone with our words. There is power in words even if we don't mean to say something intentionally. Sometimes unintentional words can do the most damage. Especially when we are angry and the person we are talking to knows we are angry. We also have to realize if we make a habit at becoming angry in conversation, we will build a reputation as such. For those who are married much caution is advised. As this can cause the communication chain in a marriage to suffer greatly. Remember, God is slow to anger, patient and long-suffering with those who offend him. How much more should we be?

4. Don’t insult back.

When Jesus was insulted, He did not insult in return and when He suffered, He did not threaten as stated in 1 Peter 2:23. Talk about being unjustly accused as Jesus was. Yet, He continued to trust the Lord and did not insult in return. When we are in a conversation and we are insulted it is human nature to release an insult back. Thus, both sides are insulted and the conversation is stalled from progressing and usually deteriorates.  

5. Give a gentle response.  

Don't be rash and automatically defend yourself too quickly. Defensiveness can rise out of pride and being unteachable. We need to consider what we are being criticized about. It may be true it might have just been presented in a poor way. 

VERSE PASSAGE: Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." - NIV

Be gracious and gentle even to those who offend you, even as God is gracious to us when we offend him. If we are rash and harsh in our response we will stir up anger in the other person and our conversation can turn worse and even bitter. Even if it is given with the intent to hurt or mock, there still might be something worth considering. God might be speaking to you through this person. Sometimes we need blunt force to get a point across because we are to stubborn to see what might actually be there. 

6. Consider your blind spots.

Consider the fact that you have blind spots. We all have spiritual blind sightedness and more so seem to have physical blind spots due to selfish pride. We can’t always see ourselves accurately. Maybe this person is seeing something you can’t see about yourself. I will use marriage again for this one. Because my wife tends to notice things about me that I myself don't see because they are my blind spots. Now instead of getting upset with her and lashing out. I encourage her to point them out in me to help me see where I am blind. Your spouse is your guide in your blindness. You have married this person, and they know everything about you. They see you outside of the perspective that you see yourself. Now, it may not always be a spouse but remember that everyone has a few blind spots. 

7. Pray about the criticism.

Ask God for wisdom. Sometimes we get criticism and don't know what to do with it. Don't worry, come to God with it in prayer. Let Him help. 

VERSE PASSAGE: Psalms 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you." - NIV

8. Ask others for their opinion.

Your critic could be right or completely off base. If this is an area of sin or weakness in your life, then others will have seen it too. Don't be afraid to ask friends, family, etc. I'd advised you to seek spiritual friends. Not worldly friends as this is not an area for them to be stating their opinion and more so spiritual friends bring Godly support with them to help you out along the way.

9. Consider the source.  

Don’t do this too quickly, but consider the other person’s possible motives, their level of expertise or wisdom, etc. They may be criticizing you to hurt you or they may not know what they’re talking about. This however is not the first thing that should be done. It's on this list last as this is something that should be done last. Because if we are quick to do this we are setting ourselves up to make this a habit and once this one is done we would find no reason to do anything else on this list. Which can be devastating.  

Copyright © 2017 by Jacob D. Olinger