8 April 2014
A critical word from someone can often affect me far deeper than a kind word. I think we have all experienced a situation where we were upset over a comment made my someone else.
The more i think about it though, the more silly it feels. No doubt, criticism can be useful and may also be needed to correct something, but the emotions attached to receiving criticism are often hard to contain in a positive way.
Jesus rebuked his disciples many times during his ministry. At times Jesus told them they had little faith, on another occasion, Peter was sternly rebuked for setting his mind on the things of man not of God. Jesus even called him satan and told Peter to stand away. Thomas was also lightly rebuked for having so many doubts about the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus rebuked both his disciples as well as his enemies. But the destiny of each person depended on how he or she responded to the rebuke.
Learning to accept and respond appropriately to criticism is one of the hardest things to do. But if I don’t respond well or find a way to work criticism in a constructive way in my life, i can feel my heart shrinking back in anger and my view of things getting narrower. That’s how the Pharisees eventually allowed themselves to be provoked to killing Jesus – ending the source of their greatest criticism, but in so doing, missing their only opportunity to be forgiven and ending their own lives.
Criticism then, is often an opportunity to improve, and how we respond to it can make all the difference.
Father Lord, expand my heart to receive criticism well and respond to it constructively rather than destructively. Make criticism build me up rather than tear me down. Give me wisdom to move on and pick up from where i lack.