Handling Criticism

Honestly, sometimes the very best thing we can say or do in the presence of (usually unfounded) criticism is nothing. While I stumble at times, I have generally learned the importance of letting God defend me, even though suffering attacks on my reputation, ability, and character — all of which have been attacked at one point or another — is very painful business, indeed.

However, I have observed a remarkable correlation between the insensitivity of the person’s comment and a flat-out smallness of mind, and I refuse to engage with such wanton foolishness willingly (even the Bible concurs! Read the book of Proverbs). I’m not saying that a harsh critic is necessarily unintelligent, but rather that the person seems to be unwise, unwilling to listen, and primarily interested in promoting his/her own agenda.

So yes, I think Mr. Tozer was on to something with these words; after all, often the best thing we can say (or do) in the face of our critics is nothing at all! 💡

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35 thoughts on “Handling Criticism

  1. Criticism can be so hard on us all. Especially those who were criticized alot as developing children. But I have seen moments in my life where I’ve taken the criticism well….and quiet. Not often lol

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    1. Excellent point, Amy! I tend to be sensitive to criticism (the people pleaser in me) and can internalize the feedback to readily. This is why discernment is essential — not all feedback (positive or negative) is accurate!

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  2. Amen! I had another legalistic Pharisee type person send me a message talking smack about my post titled “If You Were To Die Today.” I just deleted their comment. Sometimes I engage them in discussion and sometimes I don’t. The Spirit showed me that person just wanted to fight, mock, and argue, so I showed them the door. God bless!

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    1. Seriously? How could someone take issue with that post? 🙄

      It sounds like you rely upon godly discernment to know how to respond (or not respond) appropriately. I’ve learned that when someone is approaching me in an adversarial way, I try to see if some common ground can be found. However, if the person insists on being belligerent (like the comment you received), I usually like to give him/her a wide berth. After all, who needs drama like that?

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      1. That’s right. We used to say “save the drama for yo mama.” 🙂 Yes, I definitely pray and ask the Lord to show me what to do. My initial reaction is to always engage the person and fight back, but I praise God for the Holy Spirit that helps me make wiser decisions. God bless!

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  3. Very timely post for me, thank you dailythankful! 🙂

    I have a boss who will yell, cuss, and berate us employees at times.
    And God has been speaking this message to me too. To be nice, or be silent.

    God bless you and your family.

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      1. As always, I am grateful for you and your prayers, my friend.

        My work contract wrapped up and I am interviewing for my next job. My desire is to have permanent work (not contractual) with benefits. I ask for His discernment as I interview, and am resting in His provision to provide my “daily bread” in the meantime.

        Thanks again! 🙂

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  4. Yes! Proverbs! (Pr 17.28, for example: Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.) So much about the tongue in God’s Word.
    Criticism is a tough one. So much depends on who is speaking to me. If it’s someone I love, I tend to take them at their word right off, and I can feel my defenses rising. And every time, when I consider afterward, I wish I’d just kept silent, at least long enough to ask God and process it through Him. Is this person angry about something that has nothing to do with me? Is this person so insecure that s/he must deflect from a spotlight s/he hides from? Sadly, I fall into the trap all to often of “me first,” and respond from hurt feelings. 😥 It never gets better after that, and fences must be mended.

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    1. Ah — I can relate to what you have mentioned here, and have had to deal with my share of torn-up fences, too!

      Also, I think our culture has become far less polite (and more selfish) over the past few decades, and people seem to feel that they can say or do whatever they please — even if it’s hurtful. Such folks (among others) fit the Proverbs 17:28 description of a fool that you referenced earlier. 🧡

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      1. I agree. Media reinforces this, and then people propagate the media, and it all reinforces in a downward spiral. 😕 Only God can change us, and we, as a culture (and a world) are turning away from Him. We don’t even know it. (Pr 4.19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.)
        So there’s MORE time on my knees!

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      2. Ah — a great verse from Proverbs 4! The ways of the world are darkness and we are to not conform to these cultural norms, lest we be deceived ourselves.

        And amen (again!) to your point about needing to be in orayee faithfully and earnestly! Prayer isn’t an option to consider — rather, it’s the spiritual oxygen I need to survive in this toxic world. Thank you for this reminder!

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    1. Amen, Joseph! It usually is some sort of trap (think of Jesus with the Pharisees) so we must keep our wits about us when in the presence of such foolishly contentious people. The sad thing is that these folks rarely realize how poorly their behavior reflects on themselves — they are too caught up in themselves and lose all perspective on the situation.

      How are things going with you, by the way? I’m still praying! ✝️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wise words (as usual), Margaret! 😀 After all, it takes two to get into an argument, but a party of one can’t fuss by himself (or herself) for long, as you say. There is a verse I read recently that addresses this matter well — if you feel so led, look up Proverbs 26:20 when you get a chance. 🧡✝️😊

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