Like many people around the globe, Terri and I have been watching “The Chosen,” a crowd-funded television program created by Dallas Jenkins that is based on the life of Jesus Christ. The cast includes Jonathan Roumie as Jesus of Nazareth, Shahar Isaac as Simon Peter, Paras Patel as Matthew the Apostle, and Elizabeth Tabish portraying Mary Magdalene. Also, like many of the show’s faithful viewers, we are anxiously awaiting the release of Episode 4 of Season 2. The good news, so to speak, is that the new episode is set to be released this week on Tuesday night, May 11.. This episode will surely focus on resolving the tension between Matthew and Peter, two of Jesus’ disciples.
The relationships between the disciples is one of the fascinating facets the show ventures to explore, giving viewers added insight. Loving people isn’t always easy, but it is one of the things Jesus commands us to do and I believe expects us to learn how to do well.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.John 13:34 (NLT)
Thankfully, this ability to love does not rest in us but is promised to us by God through the supernatural transformation of our hearts and minds. This covenant promise is paid for by the blood of Jesus. God’s grace ushers in a dramatic change in the life of the believer including the way we think, the words we speak, and the attitude we demonstrate in all situations and circumstances.
It’s easier to be loving when things are going our way. But, like me, you are old enough to know that life doesn’t always go the way we planned and that things certainly don’t always go our way. With each of these tests, we grow more prepared for the next time our capacity to love is tried.
The same is true with processing criticism. An old friend once shared with me that if you make decisions, expect criticism. People who claim to only have made the right decisions in their life simply haven’t made a lot of decisions, my friend reminded me. Processing criticism comes with the territory and plays a key role in both our spiritual and leadership development.
If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.Proverbs 15:31-32 (NLT)
In accepting constructive criticism, we discover opportunities to grow. We must discern what to accept as true and how to apply it while discriminatorily discarding the rest. Remember, just because someone criticizes you doesn’t make it true. However, wisdom dictates that we listen, process, and pray about what is said, especially when we are in positions of responsibility and accountability.
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Constructive criticism seeks to offer valid and well-thought out opinions about someone’s work. Ideally, it should include both positive and negative feedback. The goal of constructive criticism must be to improve performance or productivity. The criticism should not be personal. However, it can be hard to process properly when what we do or how we are doing it is fodder for critique.
Fortunately for me, I grew up in a fairly critical environment. If I made a 99 on a test or project, I would need to explain why I didn’t score a hundred. While I didn’t know it at the time, my Dad’s penchant for criticism helped me develop thicker than average skin. Initially, I did not respond well (and I’ve got the history of addiction and emotional scars to prove it). Nowadays, although I’m not immune to the affects of criticism, I believe I have matured in my ability to process it more effectively as I’ve aged and grown in life experience.
7 Tips for Processing Criticism with Excellence
- Learn to control your reaction. How you respond matters and demonstrates your maturity, especially in a professional environment.
- .As difficult as it may be, make a concerted effort to avoid taking the criticism personally. You are not your work. You are God’s child.
- Take time to process the criticism. Avoid making excuses and the desire to defend yourself. If you must say anything (and you aren’t obligated to speak), attempt to articulate how you will improve or act differently.
- Remember, it’s tough to have difficult conversations. But, in order to grow, we must become good at them.
- No one knows everything. Nobody is perfect. Show yourself some grace as well as toward the one critiquing you. Remember, it’s their perspective. It doesn’t necessarily make it so.
- Be appreciative. Acknowledge the kindness of those who criticize you. Honestly, if they didn’t care, they probably wouldn’t be giving you their insight. It’s likely as awkward for them as it is for you.
- Lean on God in prayer. Respond with thankfulness and humility. Rejoice always.
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Your ability to process criticism effectively supports your ability to love others with excellence and in a manner that glorifies God. It’s not easy to do this. It comes with practice. Practice involves doing. Doing makes you vulnerable and open to criticism. Take a breath. Process. Move forward. Do what God puts in front of you.
Gracious Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love for us. Lord, help us continue to grow spiritually and to be transformed in our hearts and our minds as we seek to follow You where You lead us. May we joyfully do those things You put in front of us. Help us receive criticism well and process it in way that allows us to put others input to good use. Remind us to reflect Jesus when we offer criticism of others. May we love one another with excellence. We praise Your holy name. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
I pray that the Lord showers you with His blessings in the upcoming week.
The Devotional Guy™