Receiving Criticism Well–a Tiny Virtue

How good are you at receiving criticism? If you’re like me, that question brings a decided “Ouch!” As we transition from the tiny virtues of the heart to the tiny virtues of the mind, we cannot help but see that our hearts and our minds have a certain connection. Our minds do not exist independently from our hearts.

When someone has a critique to offer, what is your default response?

  • tiny-virtues-criticismTo listen carefully and examine your heart to see if it applies?
  • To reciprocate and find fault in the fault-finder?
  • To lash out in anger?
  • Or do you just feel wounded?

Sure, it can depend on who is offering the criticism and the heart (or lack of heart) with which the person offers it. But for some of us, it’s just really hard to accept criticism and let it change us for the better. I submit to you that chronically rejecting criticism is a pride-response.

The proud heart and proud intellect hate to admit that he or she is wrong.

That’s the bad news. But the good news is that we can grow in these Tiny Virtues for Exemplary Christian Living and learn how to receive criticism in a godly way.

* * *

He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, But he who forsakes reproof goes astray.” (Proverbs 10:17)

We could all learn from a man like Apollos about how to receive criticism.

Acts 18:24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately. 27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Apollos had every reason to reject criticism. He was learned with a thorough knowledge. He had been instructed and spoke with great passion and accuracy. But he was missing some details. Perhaps Priscilla and Aquila were gracious beyond words and encouraged him privately in the way of God. The Scriptures say they “explained…more adequately.” They didn’t admonish or correct with a heart of superiority. But they did offer criticism and instruction. And Apollos received it well.

Ponder today: how you can be better at offering and receiving criticism

Bible characters of the day: Apollos, Priscilla, and Aquila.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on September 15, 2016

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