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How to Take Criticism Like God Would Want

Many of us need to learn how to take criticism like God would want us tomost of us do. We would benefit from waiting and not reacting in the heat of the moment, first of all. It is so important to diffuse anger, and avoid saying things you’ll regret later.  But, the problem is that criticism often blindsides us. We weren’t expecting it. 

Especially with those closest to us, it is easy to fall into the habit of throwing out criticism like candy at a parade. Without thinking, we throw out our opinions, harshly tell those we love what they did wrong, and let them know just how they should have done it better, or how much better it would have been if they had done it our way in the first place. These are the often criticisms that can be the hardest to take. Let’s look, however, at the kind of criticism that is about something more significant and that can cause a major division in a relationship.

How to Take Criticism Pt 9 in the Series | Your Home For God

How to Take Criticism. Part 9 in the Series

People who teach others (including parents who teach their children) and have to give criticism are wise to use a 24-hour method to ensure they don’t make errors and cause needless offenses. Waiting 24 hours to deliver critical feedback makes it possible to remove any emotional connections to the feedback while planning and rehearsing for the delivery. This helps prevent wounding people with criticism if there’s a difficult conversation at hand.

Series on “How to Give and Receive Criticism Like God would want”

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THE 24-HOUR METHOD FOR TAKING CRITICISM LIKE GOD WOULD WANT

In the same way, being critiqued can cause a lot of feelings and reactions. Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and absorb the criticism before addressing it. In the same way waiting 24 hours works when delivering criticism, it also works when receiving it.

Waiting 24 hours can help you take criticism like God would want. People who have a healthy relationship with critical feedback often take time to pray and think over what they’ve heard in order to absorb and consider the information before they react to it. This gives them time to:

  • Calm down
  • Pray about what God wants
  • Strategize
  • Plan

Take Time To Calm Down

In the same way waiting 24 hours before delivering criticism helps someone offering it, waiting 24 hours after receiving it can be helpful, too. In both cases, taking some time can help people work through elevated emotions that critical or tense conversations can create. When possible, ask for a day to process the feedback you’ve been given and to come back to finish your conversation.

You Can Learn to Take Criticism? | Your Home For God

You Can Learn to Take Criticism? Pt 9 in the Series

Take Time to Think and Pray

Hearing a criticism prompts the need for some sort of action. Waiting 24 hours gives you time to pray. It  helps you to sort through the criticism and decide how you will respond. It gives you time to come to conclusions and strategize what your next steps should be. 

If someone asked you to do something specific, make a change, or come up with a solution in the moment, it’s ok to ask for a day to think things through and come back with your ideas. This can keep you from committing to something that might not be in your best interest out of pressure or a knee-jerk reaction. 

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You’ve heard me recommend to you that you never give a yes or no immediately when asked to commit to volunteer for something, join a group, attend an event, or give money to a cause. I recommend that you say, “I will get back to you on that.” And to ask your husband what he thinks, so legitimately you can also say, “I need to talk to my husband about that. Can I get back to you?” When we respond in the moment, we may commit to something that we shouldn’t have, and when we respond to criticism in the moment, we may say something we regret later.

Make it your habit to go to the LORD immediately when criticized, and with every situation. God will give you wisdom, as you call out to Him. Humbly commit your situation to Him and ask for guidance, grace and mercy.” Wendy Gunn

Take Time to Plan

Whether your plan is to make a change or say no to the criticism, you may need time. Taking a day (or two) to make a plan can save you heartache sometimes (and may also save you time and money). Giving yourself some time to pray, and/or consult with a professional, a mentor, or friend can help you make the best decisions possible. Even if you are being critiqued by your spouse or someone in authority over you, there are times when asking for a day to consider the feedback and make a plan is appropriate.

Sometimes the best thing you can do in the face of criticism is nothing. Waiting a day to calm down, sort through your feelings and make a plan is a healthy reaction to difficult news. Many times, hearing a criticism hurts and everyone needs time to overcome the physical and emotional reaction. That’s normal. Do yourself a favor and take 24 hours to work things through and handle criticism like God would want.  If someone is pelting you with questions, demanding answers, simply say, “I don’t know,” or “I don’t have the answer for you right now.” You may also just remain silent, if it is possible. That is far better than reacting in anger and saying something you’ll regret later.

Make Things Right When You Are Wrong Pt 9

Make Things Right When You Are Wrong Pt 9 in Series

Top Tips for Taking Criticism When It’s Hard to Hear

There are all sorts of things to consider when someone is being critical:

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  • Is it you? Are you feeling super-sensitive and taking comments as criticism that weren’t meant that way?
  • Is it them? Are they going through something that caused them to criticize?
  • Is there value? Is there a nugget of truth that you can apply and be helped by?
  • Is there truth? Is there something God wants to say to you through this person?

The thing about criticism, though, is that it can be subjective. One person’s critical opinion isn’t always factual. But sometimes we are 100% wrong and the criticism is really hard to hear. There may be sin in our lives and a real need for repentance.

Tough criticism stings

It can cause embarrassment, humiliation, regret, and make us want to run and hide. Some people react with anger when they are overwhelmed with shame and guilt. It may feel like you’ve been slapped. These reactions may be normal, but they don’t necessarily help. So, what’s the right reaction when criticism is hard to hear? Here are some top tips for taking tough criticism.

How to Take Criticism Pt 9 in the Series | Your Home For God

How to Take Criticism. Part 9 in the Series

Top-tip: Acknowledge your sin and ask forgiveness

If you’ve sinned and are being confronted or critiqued, more than anything else, people are seeking a humble acceptance of what has happened. The sooner you can simply acknowledge the mistake or sin, and take ownership, the sooner the situation will calm down. You don’t even need to know what the next steps are, simply validate the other person’s feelings and make a heartfelt apology, asking for forgiveness.

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Top-tip: Ask for time

This is a great time for the 24-hour method. If you are experiencing shame, regret, or other heightened emotion, ask for a day (or at least some time) to sort things out. This can be very helpful. Assure the critic that your goal is to remedy the situation and give yourself space and time to handle the situation in a healthy manner.

Criticism hurts. Make it your habit to go to the LORD immediately when criticized, and with every situation. God will help you.

Wendy Gunn

Top-tip: Go to the LORD and Get support

Make it your habit to go to the LORD immediately when criticized, and with every situation. God will give you wisdom, as you call out to Him. Humbly commit your situation to Him and ask for guidance, grace and mercy. 

Depending on the critique and what next steps need to happen, leaning on someone for support can help. If emotions are high, it’s a good time to ask a neutral respected party for advice or support. Make certain the person is wise and will give you Biblical advice.

If married, talk to your spouse. Hearing critical feedback can make people want to hide because it can be embarrassing or traumatic. This can result in bitterness or resentment on one or both sides. Don’t keep things from your spouse. And, determine to work things out, if at all possible. Confessing your sin or seeking guidance can help you manage the issue and get closure.

Make Things Right When You Are Wrong Pt 9

Make Things Right When You Are Wrong Pt 9 in Series

If it was your spouse who criticized you, talk it over. Be the first to ask forgiveness. Maybe you were only 5% guilty, and you think they were mostly at fault, but you can still ask forgiveness for your 5%. Be the bigger person. Learning to take criticism involves humility.

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Top-tip: Make amends as soon as possible

Don’t avoid someone because they gave you harsh criticism. This is so easy to do, and is not the answer. Though the 24-hour method is good, long term avoidance is not healthy. Likely, they want the situation to be remedied so they can move forward with you in a healthy way, too. This is especially important if it’s your spouse that criticized you.

If someone you have a relationship with has criticized you, do what you need to do to make amends, after prayer and seeking God’s will. Genuinely make changes or repair any damage so you can restore the relationship. Seek peace and pursue it. Be humble, ask forgiveness, restore the relationship, and deal with it as Christ would have you to, in the most Biblical way possible.

There are times when criticism will hurt. In the cases where you’ve dropped the ball, pick it back up and do the right thing. If you’ve sinned, ask forgiveness, and make restoration. It’s humbling to make mistakes, but when you can come back and do the right thing, it builds character and earns respect.

This is Part 9, “How to Take Criticism Like God Would Want”; click on the links below to read more in the series!

Read all the posts in the Series on “How to Give and Receive Criticism Like God would want”

Have a Great Week Making Your Home For God!

P.S. Christian Parenting is tough. Here’s  my Video Course, “Raising Godly Kids”! There’s a 30-day 100% money-back guarantee, so there’s nothing to lose! Get help today!

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