A young boy complained to his father that most church hymns were boring and behind the times. His father put an end to his son’s complaints by saying, “if you think you can write better hymns, then why don’t you?” Isaac Watts went to his room and wrote such hymns as, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”
All of us have been criticised, or soon will be. Well, those of us doing anything anyway. When someone starts with “don’t take this the wrong way” you can be on high alert that you are about to get criticised.
Criticism rightly faced becomes a means of personal growth, but wrongly faced causes us to become angry and defensive. In fact, this can be true of all trials.
So how can we make criticism work for us and not against us? How do we grow from it and not crumble under it?
We are going to have to remember who we are. I find my identity in the fact that nothing can separate me from God’s love. His love gives me intrinsic value and a sense of worth. I know that through His strength, I can face anything.
We also need to respond with love. Love is the greatest force on this earth and the best way to cope with criticism. Love may not always change the situation but it can change you for the situation. You may not always love the criticism but you can always love the critic.
The best example of someone coping with criticism, with love, is Jesus. To be nailed to the cross was the ultimate rejection and extreme criticism, yet his response was “God forgive them”.
On top of all that, we need to rate the criticism. Ignoring it, or becoming upset by it, won’t ultimately help us. If we can look beyond the critic, look beyond the emotion, and consider what is being said, we may actually learn something. And that very something may just propel us forward in our destiny.
Whatever you do, don’t use one of my all-time favourite defences, “well, what would you know anyway?” Trust me, it’s useless. Imagine if Isaac Watts said that to his Dad. Instead, hear the criticism and honestly weigh it up.
Finally, measure how long it takes from the point of reaction to the point of recovery. Meaning, how long does it take you to recover from a challenge, upset or criticism?
The Winter Olympics is on right now and those athletes have trained against their personal best for years to make sure they were getting better and faster. Time was their guage for success.
So if last year it took you days to get from being hurt to forgiving, from offending to saying sorry, from being blessed to giving thanks, but this year it only takes you hours, then you’ve probably grown against your personal best. In this way, time can also be your guage for success.
Do “getting criticised” well. You’ll be blessed by it.