I like to be liked. So do you! There is a great danger in seeking to please men – desiring to gain their compliments and avoid their criticism. “The fear of man bringeth a snare” (Proverbs 29:25).
Living for the praise of men is empty. Accolades and acknowledgment do not bring fulfillment. Beware! Compliments will make you a man of men, not a man of God. Listening to others boast of you is just as deadly as boasting of yourself.
Dr. Lee Roberson used to say that we must “die to compliments and criticism.” Both tend to rouse the flesh. Men who walk in the Spirit cannot afford to listen to the flesh, whether it speaks positively or negatively.
You can tell a lot about a man when he is criticized.
The sad reality is that criticism destroys many good men. It is not their reputation that is ruined. It is their spirit. Growing hardened from criticism, they become cynics, victims, wounded souls.
It doesn’t have to be.
Taken in faith, criticism can be God’s tool to keep your heart soft. It is criticism that reminds us we are not what we think we are. We are not what others think us to be. God is everything.
A few suggestions for handling criticism:
1. Thank God for everything He uses to keep you humble.
2. Ask God to teach you anything that needs to be learned from the criticism.
3. Consider how they spoke of Jesus.
4. Pray for your critic by name.
5. Stop talking about it.
Allow criticism to be a means of experiencing more of the grace of God. Critics come. Criticism hurts. But it is your response that determines whether it makes you bitter or better.
The rest of the proverb is: “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe. Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD” (Proverbs 29:25-26).
Keep your eyes on Him. Only He is worthy of such power in your life. The faith life is a life of freedom. It is the only life worth living.