Accepting Criticism

Sometimes we receive comments that may seem critical, condescending, and downright rude. These kinds of things can make a person doubt what they are doing and if they are doing it correctly. While pondering on the remarks and deciding on a response I was reminded of a couple of Bible verses.

The first being:

Judge not, that you be not judged.

Matthew 7:1

And then:

 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:3-5

I know I have to catch myself for sometimes being judgmental or critical of others. I also know that I can be my own worst critic. On several occasions, the Lord has shown me the same negative qualities in myself that I have judged or criticized others for. So, in short, we should all be very careful about what we say or do. If you find yourself casting judgment or being overly critical make a mental effort to stop right then.

If you get into the habit of always being critical or judgmental then people may begin to see you as mean, vindictive, arrogant, and harsh. You will undoubtedly step on toes and hurt feelings whenever you make these comments. People will think that you find yourself above everyone else when in reality we are all sinners in God’s eyes. Every one of us falls short and we all need His grace every single day.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Romans 12:3

When you find yourself ready to make a remark that may seem critical or judgmental then try to turn it around and find something you can compliment them on instead. The Bible says we should try to build one another up and not tear them down.

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

I know that sometimes there are things that just need to be said. If that is the case you should try to take the person to the side and tell them what you need to tell them. Try to be as nice as can with your words. Critical and/or judgmental remarks should not be made public as they may embarrass or hurt the person they are directed at.

Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed

Proverbs 11:25

There is always more to a story than what you see or hear.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them?

1 Corinthians 2:10-11

You may not see what is going on in there lives. It can be quite easy for a person standing on the outside looking in to tell someone how to handle things. Every person, family, and community is different and if you are not involved with them on a personal level it may not be possible to see what is going on in their lives. It may be helpful to offer suggestions but try to do so in a loving way.

For instance, yesterday was an extremely busy day for us here. My ex-husband had come to visit the kids, for the first time since we moved, and the kids were very much overstimulated. I needed a short break just as much as they needed some ‘quiet time’.

Yes, they could have been shown how to clean out the freezer but I don’t really mind cleaning and there will be many opportunities for them to practice cleaning freezers. I also find it soothing to work on projects by myself at times. So instead of having a freezer cleaning lesson I was a bit selfish and kept all the fun to myself.

I have some of my best heart to hearts with God when I am up to my elbows in suds. If I’m not talking to God I am singing an old hymn and this helps me refresh my soul also. My biggest problem lately has been getting motivated to do things.

My kids do help me quite a bit around the house and are often busy on other little projects I have given them when I am working on bigger tasks. They did help with bagging the bananas and carrying them out to the freezer yesterday as well. I do sincerely apologize if I have ever given the impression that they are not involved with what I am doing. It’s almost impossible not to have a child involved considering I am surrounded by them… lol.

However, there are other extraordinary circumstances with our family, as with other families, that we deal with on a constant basis. We face the challenges one at a time and do the best we can with what we are given. I understand that the way we do things may not be the way they are done in other families. I also know that there is no perfect way to raise children or they would come with instruction manuals. My instructions come from God and I do what I feel he is leading me to do.

How should we handle criticism?

We must listen carefully to what the other person is trying to tell us. Try to see it from their point of view.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

James 1:19

While listening we must also be sure to stay calm and control any outbursts. Try not to get defensive and try to stay objective. Definitely, don’t throw criticism or judgment right back at them because that will not solve anything.

Instead, think carefully about your response and try to be as kind as you can. Thank them for their opinion if you can. If you can’t it may be best to say nothing at all and just walk away from the conversation.

When you are calm you can take some time and try to consider what they have said. Think about it and see if there are any changes you can or would consider making. Sometimes we can’t see the same things in ourselves as others do. While it may hurt there may be some truth in the remarks they have made. There is also a chance that the remarks may be completely unjustified and may have come from someone who is dealing with issues of their own.

Try not to dwell on it! Remember that no one is perfect and that God loves you and your imperfections. If there is an area or areas that you choose to work on then ask Him to help you. We are each a work in progress and in the end He is the one that we should be striving to please!

In the end, I am thankful for the remarks and they are just reassuring me that I am on the right path. Unknown to the commenter I have been working on redoing our homeschool schedule to add more Home Ec/Life Skills into our days. I do plan on trying to do some blog posts about these different lessons to share ideas with others who may want to incorporate these ideas into their own families.

Have a blessed day!

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