Ever had someone be critical of something you have said or done? Are you breathing? Of course you have. Every person alive has had a criticism of one sort or another TODAY!
So, what do you do when someone criticizes you? Well most of us first determine if the criticism was justified – and, if it was, we accept it even if we don’t like it. Well, that was a lie. If we think it was not justified then we dismiss it and sometimes the person who spoke it is written off as well. Ah, closer to the truth! Sometimes we get defensive and lash out with a criticism or two of our own – even if not true and not warranted. We do it to switch the focus off of us and on to them. It usually works – I know because I do it. Now we have it – the truth of the matter.
Many years ago Jamie Buckingham (a wonderful Spirit-filled believer and leader wrote a book on how to handle criticism. He spoke a truth into my life I have never forgotten. He said that in every criticism there is some percentage of truth. And, if we would just take the time to examine the criticism, and not just write it off, we would have much to gain – including someone who could have been an enemy and who turns out to be a true friend.
Recently this was brought back to mind as I was reading a book on … I don’t remember – honest, I just don’t remember (it may be half-timers as I am half way to 120 years old). The author made a similar point 3 decades after I first learned this truth. He said …
“I favour the chewing-gum approach to criticism: chew it and spit it out – don’t swallow it. Take advantage of the criticism by chewing on it, absorbing the 10 percent or so that’s valid, learning from it, and then spitting out the other 90 percent. Don’t swallow it whole, but allow the flavour of criticism to help you grow.”
Now, that is great advice. Advice that Christians and non-Christians and anyone in a relationship of any kind (all of us) needs to listen to. Simply chew over what has been said – take the truth (flavour) and enjoy it and simply spit the rest out.
Want to apply it to today’s criticism? Let me know if it helped!