One of the most difficult things to do in life is to receive criticism. If you’ve ever had any experience teaching children, or coaching little league teams, you know exactly what I’m writing about. Every child (and every adult) takes criticism differently. Some are very good at it, and “take it in stride.” Others begin crying on the baseball field as the next play begins and you wonder if they have any idea what’s going on anymore.
Proverbs 9:7-9 says, “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” When you read that, do you ask yourself, “How good am I at receiving criticism?” It is natural to react strongly when we’re told that we’re doing something wrong. It’s natural to feel defensive, or even become angry. But, the question, then is, “What am I going to do with this new information?” “Am I going to use this to help me become a better person … a better Christian?” Are we acting as a “just man” and increasing in our learning? No one likes criticism, but if we, as Christians, are “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), our brothers and sisters in Christ are only encouraging us on our way to heaven together.