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Posted by Steve Benninger

“He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding”  Prov.15:32

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise” Prov.19:20

I admit it. I don't like criticism. The fact is, I like to think that I'm doing just fine thank you, and don't need any unsolicited comments from the peanut gallery.

I'm wondering today if I'm all alone or if you too struggle with accepting criticism.

I'm a little ashamed to own up to this but I find that when someone does take it upon themselves to offer me a word of correction, too often my immediate reflex action is to stiffen up, put the gloves on and defend myself. Anyone else?

Now in my dreams I respond to criticism with wonderful humility..."Oh, thank you, brother, thank you! I'm so grateful that you care enough about me to point this out. I'll gladly take it to heart and make needed adjustments. I just know that God is using you to reveal a 'blind spot' in my life that needs addressing, and with your help I know I can become a more godly person."

Problem is, when I wake up, my actual responses are usually nowhere close to that. 

Years ago, someone challenged me with a very important truth regarding criticism. I find that when I choose to remember it (usually a day later), it helps me digest the critical remark much better. When I don't...well, I already told you about that. Here's the challenge:

“When you are being criticized, look for the “kernel of truth” contained in the criticism. It may be buried deep down, and you may have to strip away some of the husk to get to the kernel, but whatever you do, FIND IT, VALUE IT, AND THANK GOD FOR IT, and in the end you will be a wiser person.”    

Ouch! My pride hates to admit it, but in just about every case I've had to get honest and admit that, yes (gulp), there is some truth to what was said. Not much mind you :)  Just a little kernel of truth under all that husk. But if I can bring myself to focus on that, I find my defensiveness begins to melt away, and the gloves go back in the closet.

It's sometimes hard to swallow but the Bible teaches that those who really desire to grow in all areas of life must begin to view criticism as...well yes, as...it's hard to say...as...as a FRIEND!! Whew!! That's a tough one, isn't it??

So here I am, wondering if any of you have felt the bite of criticism lately. Doesn't feel too good, does it? How 'bout joining me in asking God to help us see the kernel of truth that just might be there, and then let's thank Him for caring enough about our future to use someone to point it out.

Remember..."Criticism is Your Friend."