If you’re alive, then you’ve experienced criticism. Whether from a family member, a friend, a coworker, or a peer: we all experience criticism from time to time. The truth is, not all conflict is bad: some conflict is helpful. So, since it’s inevitable and (at least) occasionally helpful, how can you handle conflict? Here are 3 steps to consider.
First, consider the source. Need I say more? There are people who criticize for the good of others and there are people who criticize for their own good. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friends,” meaning, although a friend may tell us something harsh, it’s for our own good. Thank God for friends like that. But sometimes the source is not a friend, or even friendly! So consider the source.
Second, consider the content. Honestly and bravely consider what’s said and evaluate yourself accordingly. Is there any truth to the criticism? Let’s face it–no one’s perfect. Some of us have faults that we’ve unknowingly developed and the criticism that we receive functions like an early-morning mirror–we can continue in public the way we look or we can freshin’ up before we go. That leads us to the last step.
Third, consider the plan. If there’s truth to the criticism you receive, and you’re interested in making the appropriate adjustments (and let’s face it, not everyone is!), then great. Face the facts and make the change! James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” If someone says that you’re too controlling, and it’s true, exercise more faith (Matthew 6:30-33). If someone says that you speak harshly, and it’s true, think before you speak and speak kindly (Ephesians 4:29). If someone says that you’re acting selfishly, and it’s true, consider others first (Romans 15:2).
If you’re facing citicism, these 3 steps are worth implementing.