Criticism hurts. There’s no doubt that receiving criticism is no fun, but where it comes from and how we handle it can make all the difference. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” is a well-known quote from the Bible found in Proverbs 27:6a. Criticism from a friend can be trusted because it comes from someone who supports us and has our best interest at heart.

Criticism from a godly person, even if it comes from someone we don’t know personally, should also be viewed as constructive. As a brother or sister in Christ we can assume their criticism is intended to help us, not hurt us, and if their advice is coming from a godly perspective we should listen carefully. In Psalm 141:3-5a David prays for a righteous rebuke in the face of temptation: “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies. Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness; let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head.” “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1

The constructive criticism offered by people who care about us can be very valuable to our growth and development, and even if we don’t follow it fully it should always be carefully considered. “Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise.” (Proverbs 15:31).

One of the most valuable things we can learn through the criticism we receive is how to provide constructive criticism to others. It is a great thing when a group of friends are able to do this, building each other up and making each other better. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

How do you respond to constructive criticism? How do you give it to others?

Having begun as a guest speaker in 2005, Dan was appointed Interim Pastor in 2008 and has been serving Maple Root Baptist ever since. As a small group leader and Chaplin for the Connecticut Tigers, Dan has a heart for the lost and the God that saves them.

Dan Kinnaman

Pastor, Maple Root Baptist Church