Tips on handling Criticism

Discussion in 'Spirituality/Worship' started by Takesha, Aug 29, 2003.

  1. Takesha

    Takesha New Member


    by Norman and Ann Bales

    How do you handle the critics? We've heard it said that 'nothing
    is certain except death and taxes'. We wouldn't be too far off
    the mark if we added criticism as another certainty. How do we
    deal with the critics? We can't shoot them. It's against the law.
    Besides that, there are too many of them. You can't outlive them.
    If one critic dies, two or three will rise up to take his place.
    Criticism is as inevitable as ants at a picnic. So how do we deal
    with it? Married couples will inevitably receive comments from
    their partners. How do you handle it? Here are some suggestions.

    * Profit from it. Sometimes our enemies help us more than our
    friends. Our friends often tell us what we want to hear because
    they don't want to endanger the friendship. Perhaps that's
    sometimes true of our spouses. Our enemies aren't interested in
    being our friends, so they tell us what we don't want to hear.
    On occasion they may speak the truth. Many years ago, two staff
    writers left a controversial periodical and accepted positions
    with an opposing journal. Their previous employer wrote a
    scathing denunciation of his former scribes. When the two
    defectors received their copy of the tirade, one stormed into the
    office of his colleague. He was irate. He shouted, "The editor
    said we were liars." His friend said, "That's not what bothers
    me. I thought he proved it." If another person speaks truth to
    us, we need to profit from it, even though the critic does not
    have our best interests in mind.

    * Be discerning. When we hear negative criticism, we often choose
    to ignore it. Sometimes that's the best course of action. If
    we're criticized unjustly, we rightly ask, "Who owns the
    problem?" On the other hand when we hear just criticism, we need
    to avoid rationalizations, excuses, explanations and counter
    attacks. But how do you know the difference between the unjust
    criticism and the just criticism? It takes a certain level of
    maturity to recognize the difference. The writer of Hebrews
    said, "But solid food is for the mature who by constant use have
    trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" (Hebrews 5:14).

    Sometimes the context of the criticism makes all the difference
    in the world. As writers we have submitted manuscripts, which
    have been rejected. Occasionally an editor will send the
    manuscript back with numerous negative comments. Those criticisms
    don't get under our skin, but that's the nature of the
    writer-editor relationship. If editors mark up your manuscript
    and write multiple negative statements, it usually means they
    think you're good and they're trying to help you improve. At
    that point you have to decide whether the editor has a point or
    doesn't know as much as he thinks he does. In any case, if the
    editor didn't think you had some potential he wouldn't bother.
    On the other hand, there are those critics who don't know what
    they're talking about, who react out of pure bias and who simply
    do not like us. We need to ignore that kind of critic. Wisdom
    requires us to know the difference between an editor and

    * Don't dwell on it and don't let a critic talk your out of doing
    good things. Nobody kicks a dead dog. Jack Dempsey was the
    greatest heavyweight champion in the twenties. Some think he
    was the greatest boxer of all time. When he fought Louis Firpo,
    his opponent hit him so hard that he knocked Dempsey out of the
    ring. Dempsey jumped up, climbed back in the ring and spoke to
    Firpo. He said, "Is that as hard as you can hit?" Dempsey won
    the fight.

    The worst thing you can do is let the critic get under your skin
    and stop you from doing well. When you're criticized, your first
    reaction may be to stop what you're doing. If a husband complains
    about his wife's cooking, she may say, "All right, Buster. From
    now on you can cook your own meals. I'm going to a restaurant."

    Maybe the husband had that coming, but sometimes people stop
    doing noble tasks at the first sign of opposition. That
    happened to the prophet Elijah. When Jezebel sought to have him
    killed, Elijah fled. God was determined that the conflict
    wouldn't end that way. He gave Elijah more work to do and
    assured him, "I have seven thousand in Israel - all whose knees
    have not bowed to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him"
    (1 Kings 19:18). You can't throw in the towel just because
    somebody doesn't like what you're doing.

    * Don't allow yourself to become embittered. A bitter spirit is
    extremely destructive. Cynicism is poison. It drives wedges
    between husbands and wife, brothers and sisters, parents and
    children. Always be ready to rebuild broken relationships. If
    there's a broken friendship, always look for any sign of movement
    toward healing the breach.

    We all need God's help when we are attacked by critics. We need to
    pray for the critics and our own responses to them. We need to ask
    God to give us tender hearts, open minds and thicker skin.