Fundamentals - Handle Your Critics!
Handle Criticism by:
1. Seeing it as a stepping-stone.
We all experience criticism. The more we achieve, the more opportunity for others to 2nd-guess, compare, and belittle. Monday-morning quarterbacks are rarely ‘in-the-game.’ Those who typically can do something, do. Those who cannot, CRITICIZE! (Mark 3 - Pharisees criticized Jesus!)
2. Recognizing the potential of truth.
Be honest with yourself and recognize that you do possess the potential to do whatever you are being criticized for. (EXAMPLE: Paul and Barnabus dispute over John Mark, Acts 15)
3. Separating the critic from the criticism.
A major key in making the criticism profitable is "don't lend credibility to the critic." We often think in an "all or nothing" structure. It doesn't mean that the critic is credible or well intentioned. Chances are, they are not well intentioned. However, don't go through the pain without determining to get the gain.
4. Recognizing the opportunity for major personal growth.
Criticisms hurt badly. If you decide that you are going to allow yourself to be more mature, then start looking for the good that can come out of it. Challenge yourself to discover how the criticism is going to help you achieve more and become more. Let your character go to a whole new level.
5. Forgiving the critic right away.
Forgiving someone does not mean that you can't learn a valuable lesson. If it is a betrayal, you will learn to be more sparing in your words to the person who has betrayed you. Nonetheless, for yourself, go ahead and forgive them. They really do not know what they are doing. It is out of a serious sense of lack and inferiority that anyone would choose to attack or criticize another.
6. Dwelling on the lesson learned, not the critic or the hurtful words and delivery.
We replay unpleasant events over and over again. I think that it is bad enough to have to go through something once, much less hitting rewind (in our own minds) and playing it over and over again. Learn the lesson, forgive the critic and choose to get over it. Don't torture yourself with it by rehearsing, nursing, and talking about it . You don’t have to sell your innocence. God is the protector of you and your reputation.
(EXAMPLE: Philippians 3:13 “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…”
7. Evaluating your progress.
Each time you go through a situation where you encounter criticism, you should see recognizable growth in your ability to handle it and process it. If you aren't handling criticism better today than you were 3-5 years ago, you are not living consciously regarding your personal growth. Live consciously. Know when you have gone to a new level of maturity in handling criticism. Enjoy and celebrate your personal progress and growth.
“Many years ago, I sat down at my computer to reply to a critical letter I had received. I toiled over my reply. I deleted words and wrote new sentences. It took me over an hour of exhausting work to carefully state a decent response to the letter. When I reread it I still was not totally satisfied with my answer. Then it hit me. I had spent an entire hour writing a letter to a critic when I could have invested the same hour in writing a dozen notes of love and appreciation to those who have believed in me and supported my ministry. The one drained me of energy. The other could have energized me. Jesus ignored the critics.”