How to handle the sting of criticism

August 30, 2017
II CORINTHIANS 10:18 - For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

I’ll be honest. I don’t like it when people criticize me unjustly and unfairly. Actually, I don’t like it when people criticize me justly and fairly, either. And neither do you. If someone says they enjoy having people take pot shots at them, I’d say if they’ll lie about that, they’ll lie about other things, too. Watch out. Jesus faced criticism. Moses got his share. King David took a shot or two, and certainly the apostle Paul was no stranger to strong criticism. Since we all find ourselves the object of criticism from time to time, how are we to deal with it? How do we handle the critics? First, I think we need to listen to what is being said. Hold your response in check and pay attention. Then, consider the source. If the criticism comes from someone who knows you well, pay special attention. If it comes from someone who is generally negative, or knows you only casually, consider that as you weigh his comments. Third, don’t overreact or underreact. Many times when we overreact to criticism, we become either hyper-defensive or hyper-sensitive. Both are mistakes. But there is a danger in underreacting, too.

It is arrogant to dismiss every critic out-of-hand. While they seldom hit the bull’s-eye head-on, they rarely miss the target altogether. One of my favorite criticisms comes from an early screen test for Fred Astaire. Some MGM executive penned these words that must have come back to haunt him a thousand times...a week. “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Can dance a little.” The secret to handling the critics is to know yourself, like yourself, and be yourself. If you are confident that you are operating within your gifts and being obedient to God, you’ll survive the sting of criticism and become a better, more effective man or woman of God because of it.