Sunday, April 22, 2012

Constructive Criticism

The tough part of being a leader is smiling and nodding through the criticism you will receive. Admit it. You have been given a lot of advice since you embarked on your journey; some of it noteworthy, some of it, well, nothing more than an opinion. Being a good listener does come with the territory, however, listening is more than just tolerating an opinion. There may be some reputable constructive criticism in there somewhere.

Bob Gas offers excellent advice for those that will no doubt at some point be the recipient of good natured, constructive criticism.

'...A wise person stays calm when insulted.' Proverbs 12:16

How can you tell constructive criticism from destructive criticism? By practicing these principles from God's Word:

1) Resolve that whatever it is, you'll handle it constructively. 'A wise person stays calm when insulted.' Angry responses only short-circuit rational thinking and trigger emotion-driven reactions. 'If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding' (Proverbs 15:31-32 NLT). Always ask yourself, 'Can I learn something here?

2) Consider the character of your critic. 'An honest witness tells the truth; a false witness tells lies. Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing' (Proverbs 12:17-18 NLT). Is your critic trustworthy? Are their words meant to help you? If so, appreciate them and grow wiser. 'Better to be criticised by a wise person than to be praised by a fool' (Ecclesiastes 7:5 NLT). Are their words intended to demean you and damage your self-worth? Words that humble you have a godly purpose, but words that humiliate don't; so reject them.

3) Check your conscience. Paul wrote: 'My conscience is clear...It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide' (1Corinthians 4:4 NLT). If you're in the clear, leave the outcome with God. He alone sees the whole picture.

4) If you are criticised because of your faith, consider yourself blessed. 'If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you' (1Peter 4:14 NIV). Rejoice, your life is pleasing to God.

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