Jesus dealt with criticism, and so did Paul–eventually at some point, we all will. Sometimes these cynical remarks are discouraging. They can cause us to doubt ourselves and create unnecessary worry in our lives.
How can we handle such criticism? Can we even handle constructive criticism? One of the things that we have to learn is that just because someone has an opinion about something does not make them an expert. When it comes to living our lives and experiences, we automatically think ourselves experts.
You’ve got to understand who is doing the criticizing. People will often act before they think and make judgments on your character or actions based on one line you said in passing, when in actuality, they don’t know the background of your story or the reasoning in which you made that decision. Even further, a friend of mine recently judged a fellow coworker based on his appearance and comments. However, once he started listening and engaged with him, he discovered the coworker was a junior at college obtaining a degree in chemical engineering.
These are the people that we can’t take the time to listen to. Chances are, you probably don’t have time to try to convince them you’re a good person and explain your intentions.
So who can you listen too? Well, God is always there and He put special close people in your life. These are the people whose encouragement and rebuke you welcome. You’ve got to have people around you who are willing to tell you the truth.
Another thing to consider is someones attitude, if they are negative line. The Bible says that we are called to speak the truth, but we are called to do so in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Sometimes after something goes seemingly well, you get praised and complimented by many. But often you will get one negative comment from someone and all you do is focus on that one negative comment. We cannot allow ourselves to dwell on that negative comment.
Now, there are some things that are worth my time, and I do address those. But often times, I am not going to change the person’s mind and “friendly debate” is out of the question, so it’s best to just move on. Remember, never be angry with someone once the sun sets. It is best to resolve your differences and allow your anger to pass before the setting of the sun.
In the end, we all have good things in our lives we need to focus on. The best thing being God. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
So don’t spend your time fighting the critics, spend your time focusing on Jesus and the blessings He has given to all of us. Remember that Jesus took criticism for preaching God’s word, even from His disciples. Trust in God, the wisdom He gives, and the comfort of friends and family.