Receiving Criticism in a Godly Manner

Greg Strand – November 16, 2012 2 Comments

I have attempted to live and to teach and model for my family what I learned from the life of Dawson Trottman. He learned to listen carefully and discerningly to all that was said. He also came to learn that when discerning what was said against him it was important to be guided by the Holy Spirit to determine what was kernel/wheat and what was husk/chaff. Most everything that is said has some kernel/wheat of truth in it and some husk/chaff. In all of this, God uses it as a means of sanctification.

It is often difficult to distinguish between the two. There are those who speak a lot of kernel/wheat, with very little husk/chaff; there are others who speak a lot of husk/chaff, with very little kernel/wheat. It is a mercy of God that He provides this in our lives; it is a supernatural work of God that we hear it, receive it, ponder it, and pray about it. When we hear this, it is important to bring it to the Lord, to lay one’s life open before Him and the Word (Heb. 4:12) and to ask Him to shine the illuminating light of the Holy Spirit on our hearts (mouths, actions, etc.). It is also vital to seek the counsel of godly, trusted and respected friends who love the Lord and His glory above all, and who love you and are committed to your ongoing sanctification, i.e. mortification – putting to death the sins of the flesh (Col. 3:5-11), and vivification – putting on the graces of Christ (Col. 3:12-17), as you are progressively being conformed into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

With this as a backdrop, Mark Altrogge gives five helpful and important suggestions for how we ought to receive criticism: “How To Receive Criticism Like A Champ, Part 1”. I would encourage you to read the whole (which is not long) article.

If it comes from a believer, view it as a kindness.

  • Make it easy for people to bring stuff to you.
  • Remember you’re a sinner.
  • There’s almost always some truth in every criticism, even if it’s inaccurate or given poorly.
  • Don’t be wise in your own eyes.

There is much to learn both about how to give criticism and how to receive it. Often it can be perceived that criticism is given and received as if it is critical. Certainly criticism can be given with a critical spirit, and even if criticism is not given critically, it can be received as being critical (most of us like to talk about being lovingly exhorted, but in practice we don’t like it much at all). Our prayer and goal is to give and receive criticism with charity.

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

2 responses to Receiving Criticism in a Godly Manner

  1. Greg, thanks for the reminder and encouragement to have a humble attitude that accepts criticism as one of God’s means of conforming us to the image of His Son.

    • I am grateful you found this as helpful as I did, Wayne. It is important that we not only model this in our own lives, but we also help others to do the same. It truly is a mark of God’s grace in our lives, a work of the Holy Spirit as part of that process through which we are conformed into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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