If you read last week’s post on receiving criticism, I’m sure it changed your life and you are now the most humble person you know, desirous of the correction and input of others.
You freely admit, “I’m not smarter than a fifth-grader and I’m a worse sinner.” You now view everyone who critiques you as a valuable friend. “Thank you for smiting me in love,” you gush when corrected.
Well, we’ll keep trying. Like I said last week, I don’t love being corrected. But Jesus can help us grow. Here are a few more suggestions.
- Don’t be quick to defend yourself. “Hey I thwacked Junior on the head with my iPad because he had a bad attitude!” Don’t make excuses: “Well, I didn’t actually lie. It was theater. You know, drama. I just exaggerated a little bit for effect.” Sometimes it’s fine to offer reasons for our actions, but defensiveness usually comes from pride.
- Don’t write someone off because they fail to deliver criticism perfectly. “Hey! You corrected me harshly! Your stinking attitude invalidates all you said.” Even if they sin, make your primary focus your failure, not theirs. You can talk about their sin some other time.
- Ask clarifying questions. Don’t require them to produce video footage, finger prints, and DNA evidence before you accept what they say, but if they have some examples that could help you see more clearly, welcome them.
- Watch your facial expression and body language. I know, your face feels like it’s going to crack into a thousand pieces. Don’t sit there with your arms crossed and an “I dare you to say something negative” scowl on your face. Try not to start breathing heavily when someone is correcting you, like a snorting bull. Remember, you’re trying to make it easy for them.
- If you see what they’re saying, acknowledge it. James says, “Confess your sins to one another.” Say, “You’re right, honey. I should not have thwacked Junior on the head with my iPad. I was angry and that was sin. Junior, would you please forgive Daddy for his anger and for thwacking you on the head? I won’t thwack you any more. And anyway, my iPad’s broken now.”
- If you can’t see what someone is saying, don’t immediately write it off. You could say, “I’m having a hard time seeing what you’re saying right now, but I certainly could be wrong. I know I have blind spots.” Another thing you can do is ask others if they have observed the same thing. Good chance if one person has seen a weakness or fault of yours, others have too (thanks Julian Freeman for this addition!).
- Ask them to please point it out again if you do it again. Because most likely you will.
Bottom line – we all need correction, input, reproof, adjustment, suggestions and help. A wise man or woman grows wiser by receiving these from others. OK, now go out there and get criticized!