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Benefiting from Criticism

Let’s just throw it out there ... criticism stings... but when things go wrong, or are wrong, criticism is what sounds the alarm.

We have a love/hate relationship with criticism. We hate being criticized ourselves but we love criticizing things/others.

The only warning you got with old cars was steam pouring out of the engine bay or hearing grinding metal from the brakes. Today’s cars have a gazillion little lights and a few gauges. Having them is better. Those lights, gauges, chimes and buzzers alert when things are wrong or need attention. Disconnecting the buzzer or removing the offending light bulb does not fix the problem.

How to benefit from criticism:

  1. Open up. Allow for vulnerability. All intentional growth comes from recognizing something can be done better. Jethro told Moses, “you’re doing it wrong.” (Ex. 18:17) Be open to the idea of “Maybe there’s another way. I could be wrong.”

  2. Listen up. Find the truth. There’s a little bit of truth in most criticism. Being able to hear the truth through the noise is the mark of those who improve. Don’t deflect criticism because the critic is imperfect. Without listening to the input of servants Naaman would have remained a leper. (2 Kings 5:2-3, 13)

  3. Lighten up. Every book needs an editor but authors don’t like them. Criticism of actions is not an attack on our person. End products are better because of changes made previously. Criticism alerts us to where changes can improve something that’s meaningful to others. Because the apostles were open, listened and adjusted, the church was made better. (Acts 6:1)

  4. Be grateful. I’m not thankful for problems but I’m thankful for buzzers, chimes and lights that alert to problems. Fixing a broken thermostat or leaking radiator is a MUCH better job than replacing a ruined engine because I didn’t know the water was leaking out. Be grateful for critical voices that alert to problems.

I believe every word of this is true. That doesn’t make it easy to do.

- Tim Orbison


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