“If you listen to correction, you grow in understanding… If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.” These quotes from Proverbs 15 are direct and clearly point us towards listening and receiving! While Doug helped us consider the impact of believing destructive words in yesterday’s post, today we’ll flip our thoughts to consider the words we need to hear.
There are two primary reasons that I have found for people who do not receive criticism that is intended to help and grow them. The first reason is arrogance. Any suggestion that the arrogant individual is not right about things hits a wall of pride. If that is your condition, I recommend that you find out everything the Bible has to say on both pride and humility (because if your issue is pride you won’t listen to me!) See what God has to say about those two conditions of the heart and work towards the most desirable one. As you open your mind to God’s direction on the matter and look for opportunities to move from a prideful stand to the one modeled by Christ, you may be surprised by the feelings of freedom and wellness that fill your soul!
The other reason for not receiving constructive criticism is insecurity. Sometimes this comes from woundedness, inflicted early in our lives by people we loved or respected. Maybe we never measured up to parents’ or teachers’ expectations. Maybe we felt left out in school and put our own measuring stick up against the wrong things. Did you play the comparison game in athletics or academics, music or social skills, and come up short?
The good news is that God did not create you to be like anyone else. Just as there are no two snowflakes alike there are no two “you’s”. And there never will be. You are God’s masterpiece, with the potential for the good things he has planned in advance for you to do. But in order to do them well, recurring admonitions throughout Proverbs tells us we need to listen to others. In Scripture, this is considered being wise. Even if criticism directed towards us is unkind or insulting, Proverbs says in chapter 12 that the wise will stay calm and only the fool will be quick-tempered. So take the test and go after some criticism today – how do you respond? Criticism is an opportunity to grow in wisdom and humility!
Moment in the Mirror
How do I respond when someone disagrees with me or criticizes me?
When I don’t respond well, what is the reason?