1. Be Quiet
My first reaction when someone criticizes me is to jump to my own defense as quickly as possible. Sometimes this looks like me attempting to stop the ‘criticizer’ in their tracks by openly agreeing with them. ”Oh yeah, I know. I do have a tendency to do that.” A better response is silence. Keep in mind, offering constructive criticism is a hard task and it takes some degree of integrity to be willing to give it. Silence allows you to better hear that person’s critique while also processing your own emotional response. In short, silence allows us to receive better.
2. Be Reflective
Chances are you are not currently aware of what it is you are being criticized for. Maybe you do, but you do know how to fix it or do not see it as problematic. In any case: genuinely and prayerfully reflect on the critique being offered. Often, my impulse is to dismiss it (defensiveness) without carefully considering how I might be able to grow by listening and applying the feedback. Do not miss an opportunity to grow.
Because we stand justified in Jesus we can consider the possibility that we are not perfect without feeling condemned.
3. Be Thankful
Criticism is God’s way of revealing blind spots in our own lives. I have never once enjoyed the process of being called out but I have benefited from it over and over. Be thankful that God placed someone in your life that cares enough to critique.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. – Winston Churchill
We can be thankful for both constructive and negative criticism because the Gospel has already exposed us as flawed and covered us in the perfection of Jesus Himself. If all the critiques thrown at us were correct we would still be loved perfectly and completely in Jesus.