But is there a different way that we can respond to criticism? I think so.
I was reminded of the value of criticism as I read the article entitled "The Cross and Criticism" from Peacemaker Ministries. The author, Alfred Poirier makes the point that the Bible commends the ability to heed criticism as a mark of wisdom.
"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning"
In fact, wise men and women, not only heed criticism but consider it to be a blessing when it comes from a righteous source.
Let a righteous man strike me - it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me - it is oil for my head
The point Poirier makes is that the Bible teaches us that correction and criticism can often be a means of God's blessing for our lives and he's right. In the article, he argues for how Christ's death on the cross enables us to view ourselves critically, yet secured by God's justifying love for us.
Certainly, there is a place for clarifying misconceptions and appropriately defending oneself against false accusations. Sometimes criticisms are actually unjustified or incorrect. In those situations, we should feel at liberty to "set the record straight" but not at the expense humbly listening and receiving the corrective input.
However, even when criticisms are unjustified, I've found them helpful in humbling my soul as it leads me to put my trust in Christ. Just think - if we are not open to receiving criticism, we might be overlooking the blessing of God hidden in a corrective word.
How do you respond to criticism? Do you make it easy for others to provide constructive criticism or feedback?