Learning From Criticism

Are you open to criticism or, are you offended when someone corrects you? None of us like criticism so, if someone asks, “Can I offer you some constructive criticism?” we may bow up a little wondering what is about to be said. We may steel ourselves bracing for some tough words. And at times, “constructive criticism” may represent something more hurtful than constructive. But that isn’t always the case.
None of us are perfect. We should always be open to criticism or instruction. Proverbs 10:17 says, “People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray.” Notice the text reads, “People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life…”
Are you open to discipline… to instruction? Years ago, I knew a man who was Pastor of a large church. He told me that when people come to us with “constructive criticism”, after hearing the person out we should pray and ask the Lord, of what we just heard, what do we need to receive and then, toss the rest aside. That’s good advice for all of us.
In the book of Exodus, Moses was hearing complaints of all the people. His father-in-law, Jethro saw him doing this and pulled him aside. He told Moses that if he continued doing this, he was going to burn himself out. Instead, he told him to appoint men to help him with this.
Moses could have brushed his father-in-law off and told him to get out of his face but instead, he listened to him and it helped him. So, all of us need to do daily, be open to criticism, be open to instruction. It can help us become better at our jobs and better people.
Years ago I was coaching a Pee Wee football team. One day, one child’s mother asked to see me after practice. I had her son lined up as a lineman. She asked, “Do you realize how fast he is?”
I didn’t. So, I tried him at running back and… Mom was right. The kid could fly! I had him playing out of position. Now, I could have brushed the Mom off and said listen, “I will coach the team… you watch them play.” But I listened to her and her child was good as a running back. We must always be open to criticism and instruction.

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