Everyone experiences criticism at one time or another. No one is exempt. It is also true that most of us don’t like to be criticized either. Yet, how you give and respond to criticism has a great affect on whether you live your life as the masterpiece God created you to be or not.
Take The High Road
Throughout the Bible we are taught the principle of sowing and reaping: “You will always harvest what you plant.” (Gal 6:7 NLT) Make a decision now to always take the high road when you are criticized, because how you respond will either positively or negatively come back to you as you deal with others in the future. It’s not a question of whether or not you will face criticism in your life; it’s a matter of how you will respond. Aristotle said: “Criticism is something you can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” Since that’s not going to happen, take the high road when criticized.
This is why I wrote about being an Encourage rather than a Discourager in chapter 6 of my book Life Palette. Healthy relationships are a key element for living life as God’s masterpiece, and if you are going to have them you have to learn how to give constructive criticism, grace, love and receive it with the same.
Giving Criticism With Grace And Love:
When you are in a situation that you have to give constructive criticism to someone you are working with or because you care about a person and cannot just let them continue on a path of destruction, here are some ways to assure you are taking the high road as you do:
-Ask yourself if you are doing this to help them or to belittle them.
-Consider the issue. Is it something you really must deal with or not?
-Don’t be vague. You may want to write things down before you confront so that you will not get flustered and get off point. When you approach them, just be honest and say I need to read my notes so I say what I really need to say.
-Don’t allow constructive criticism to become a personal attack. Focus on the problem and the potential solutions; it’s important to guard the relationship and their personal integrity.
-Like in comedy – timing is everything. Is this the right time and place?
Receiving Criticism With Grace And Love
Now that you are a little more equipped to give constructive criticism, you need to learn how to receive constructive criticism.
-Take God seriously, but quit taking yourself so serious. You are not God. I’m reminded of the Saturday night live sketch with Chevy Chase when he would say, “Hi, I’m Chevy Chase and you’re not.” Well, God is God – He is perfect and you’re not – so lighten up.
-Consider the source. Is the person who is giving you criticism someone who knows you and cares about you – in other words they have your best interest in mind? Or is it simply someone you accidentally offended that you will never see again. Or maybe someone in the middle of those two. The weight and value you give to their criticism will depend on their character and your relationship.
-Guard your heart; don’t become bitter and angry toward the person who is criticizing you. “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.” 1 Peter 2:21-23 (NLT)
-Remember everyone gets criticized – even Jesus did – and He was perfect!
-Never let criticism derail you from your life purpose. God has created you with a purpose and a plan. Chapter 4 of my book Life Palette helps you know how to discover and begin living your life’s purpose. Don’t let critics derail you.
If you have someone you need to confront walk through the 5 ways to give criticism with grace and love before you do, write down your responses. If you have received criticism go through the 5 ways to receive criticism with grace and love. Write your responses to the questions and prayerfully consider what you need to learn from it and how you can grow.